How to enjoy life

Today I have three how-to's for you. These are just for fun and may or may not be totally silly.

1. How to have a fun night with your girlfriends
2. How to make work not feel like work
3. How to accept a compliment

1. How to have a fun night with your girlfriends

Host a cocktail club! My friend got a cool cocktail book and so we've decided to get together about once a month and make fun cocktails! We don't often go out for fancy drinks so its fun to make these at home! Everyone brings one ingredient (limes, ice, juice, pop, etc) or some snacks (dessert, nuts, chips, etc) and you take turns bringing the alcohol. We even keep the leftovers as designated "cocktail club" alcohol to save for next times!

We did this last night and made Arizona Coolers. Here is a similar recipe. It was super fun and we had a great conversation.
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2. How to make "work" not feel like Work

1. Wear clothes that you like - you might not be able to wear comfortable clothes or the clothes you would be wearing if you weren't at work - but if you at least invest in some work clothes that you like the looks of - you'll be happier wearing them! And try keeping them only for work so that it's the only place you get to wear them.
2. Listen to music that you like - if you're allowed to listen to music, make a playlist of work appropriate songs that you like, instead of listening to the radio or whatever. I use Grooveshark where you can stream music online for free and create playlists and things.
3. Drink something yummy from a mug - Bring your own fun mug from home, some yummy new kinds of tea, hot chocolate or your own coffee. Maybe some iced tea in the summer! Or just drink water out of a pretty water bottle!
4. Smile - if you look grumpy no one will want to talk to you. It's a fact.

3. How to accept a compliment

1. Smile
2. Say thank you
3. If you feel awkward, return the compliment
4. Please don't tell them how you got it on sale for 99 cents or how it's not even very good or how it was probably made by a sweatshop in China. That just gets awkward for everyone. (this is what I have been tending to do when I get a compliment on my new(ish) purse. Must stop.)


Weekend at a restaurant

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Last weekend, my bestie Hannah had a layover in Calgary on her way home so I picked her up showed her a couple views of the Calgary skyline, and took her to Kane's Diner. I've been meaning to come back here for years, and just never had. The first and only other time I've been was back in Grade 12 - we had super long spares and came here once and I loved it! So I was hoping it wouldn't disappoint after all those years. And it didn't! It was everything you would hope for in a diner. And the burgers were excellent. I was super excited to see Hannah and also to eat my onion rings - my face is so happy in this picture!

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Then on Sunday, I went in to Canmore and Banff with my family and we went to the French Quarter Cafe. I've been here before and I seem to remember liking my food, but I sadly did not enjoy this meal! It was my fault though - I thought I was order catfish and it was actually crawfish. Big difference apparently! This was the Crawfish Etoufee and it was just sooo fishy. But everyone's meals were fantastic!! So I need to go back and get something else.

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Then we went for a walk in the snow. We had such beautiful weather that day in Banff, but there was still tons of snow. Perfect day to walk in a winter wonderland. We had a bit of snowfight at the end of the walk too!

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Then we went to one of my fave spots - the Banff Springs Hotel. I've blogged about it before.
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I got a bit of water on my camera - don't mind the blur. Then we went to one of my fave spots - the Banff Springs Hotel. I've blogged about it before here.


Frigid Air

So I have realized something new about myself - when it is bitterly cold outside, I don't feel like doing much of ANYthing. I've had a little bit of a rough week - I lightly rear ended someone (short story - I slid on ice, cracked their bumper, my car is fine, alot of money required...), some of my plans have been thrown up in the air which never helps me feel settled, and some plans even got cancelled due to the weather.(Debbie Downer)

On the plus side - I can still enjoy the beauty of the outside when I'm curled up INside! This is a view of downtown Calgary when it was about -25 degrees Celsius!

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And I watched a few great movies in the past little while - An Education, The Social Network, and Never Let Me Go. I highly recommend them all. So great. And I just realized that they're all based on characters around my age - dealing with similar issues I am dealing with (similar not the same - I actually haven't changed the future of the internet - I just mean issues that young adults are faced with like belonging, sense of direction, and finding life's purpose.) Anyway, check those out if you can!

I will have a post coming soon of my super fun weekend so there will be some happy times there to make up for this sad seeming post!


2011 Goals

So I've been making a few goals for the new year and trying to plan what it is going to look like, and I'm getting quite excited! I\m going to be in a wedding party for one of my best friends in July, probably going to a couple other weddings as well, talking about going to a music festival where you have to camp! as well as Sled Island obviously (if it's happening!) Hopefully a few little trips here and there! Also - moving out with a friend in March! We're looking at apartments this week already and getting excited about that.

I also like the idea of making a few goals each month/season - not sure yet how big/small I want these goals to be.

So some of my goals for January/Winter are the following

- get my life organized (this goes hand in hand with packing everything I own up and moving.
- reading my next book club book - The Poisonwood Bible - I really need to get going on this one!!
- go skating
- drink lots of tea/cider/hot chocolate
- start planning out some of my 2011 trips
- get debt free! Its gonna happen... really soon!
- start saving for The.Big.Trip. (not sure when/where this will be yet, but it's coming. :)
- Discover 2 new bands

And I've already started on some of these!

For getting my life organized, I filled a garbage bag of clothes that were hanging in my closet/dresser that I would continuously bypass because they were "too.. something" well I decided that if they are too... something, then I should never wear them, and am getting rid of a ton of stuff. Alot of it I have thrifted or got at the swap, when I wasn't able to try stuff on, so I don't feel like I'm wasting my money by getting rid of a bunch of clothing.

Also, I decided to attack my coin bucket. I have been putting coins (a quarter or less in value only) into this little bucket thing for the last several years. I was amazed that I actually have $36!! All in quarters or less! That`s the best - organize your life and get paid for doing it! haha.

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I think I`ll probably start this again but in a nice big mason jar, rather than a dusty molded record that was just getting annoying.


New Computer!

I bought a new laptop! So I haven't had a new laptop since I was 18 so that's been like 5 and a half years!! So as you can imagine, there's lots of things about my computer that are very new and exciting. Like the webcam, memory card reader, and widescreen, that most of you can't even remember living without! haha. It's an HP G-Series with Intel i-5 if that means anything to you! haha. And a pretty good upgrade from my last computer with 50 GB to my new one with 640!! haha AND it was on sale.

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(This is the box, I thought it was strange that HP now uses the Alice in Wonderland font)

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I named it Figaro - after the cat in Pinocchio. I have decided to only name things in my life after cartoon characters (mostly Disney). My first car - Mowgli (Jungle Book), my first pet - Duckie (pretty sure there's an Ugly Duckling cartoon cuz that's what we named her after, but it could also be from The Land Before Time), current car - Kaa (snake from Jungle Book - just cuz it's funny). I don't know why but I always imagine things as cartoon characters more than people. Ok, but as my sister just pointed out, I will probably make an exception for my kids! haha.


East vs West

In 2010, I was so fortunate to be able to go to not one but TWO coasts in ONE year. Actually, I don't think I've ever done that before... ok, that's probably a lie. But to have them BOTH be trips I took on my own - well that's definitely a first.

So, this post has been a long time coming actually. Back in September, I saw this post  with a bunch of pictures of both the east and west coast. Because at that point I knew I was going to be going to both coasts I saved this and planned on doing my version. This is that version!!

These pictures are diptychs of LA vs New York. I didn't have anything in mind when taking these pictures (like which ones I would pair them with) I just put them together after both trips. So there's no overthinking here but I hope you enjoy!

(In all except the obvious one - LA (west) is on the top or left and NYC (east) is on the bottom or right.)

It is one of my favorite things in the world to experience different cultures. And try to learn as much about them as I can and what makes them unique. Of course, I bring my own worldview into it and everything is pretty much compared to my childhood experience as a starting point. I've been having a few conversations recently about different cities and their cultures. One that has come up often is Montreal so I'm thinking I need to go see for myself sometime! 

Do you think you are able to pinpoint the culture of a city? How about your own city?


Christmas Moments

Hopefully you're not totally over Christmas yet! Since I stopped the Days of December, let's just consider this one giant wrap up for that. Here are a few of my favorite parts of Christmas.

This is the tree at my church where we went to the Christmas Eve Service. I love singing the old carols and we got to sing Silent Night while lighting candles. I was super excited about that!!


Stockings on Christmas morning!! Always so exciting :) Mine is the Santa one on the left :)
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Christmas Bread Wreath - this is what we always have for Christmas Breakfast.

Getting Christmas dinner ready! You'll see that we use Christmas crackers and you better believe we wear the crowns all meal long!

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We have this unique Elford tradition of a Jack Horner Pie before dessert. This year's Pie had moustaches in them! We took about a hundred pictures with these stick on 'stashes!! So funny.


I had a few people in LA say how terrible it must be to be going back to Canada - but I just can't imagine a non-white Christmas!! A couple days after Christmas we had a huge snowstorm and I shovelled the sidewalk and driveway! (PS that's my car out there!)

Christmas is all over now. I had to go back to work today which was sad but it ended on such a good note and I'm just happy that we had such a great break. I hope you had a great Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!!


Rainy December Days

Well I didn't feel like spending time on the computer on my Christmas holiday so I sorta fell off the Days of December thing - but I really enjoyed doing it! Going to LA sorta through me off my schedule for it and I just didn't feel like catching up haha. No apologies! I would like to wrap up the year in a couple more posts though. Here's a bit more from my trip to Los Angeles. Feels so weird cuz it was short and right before Christmas, but it was only a couple weeks ago.

With my coworkers we spent time in Venice Beach and Hollywood and Santa Monica. We spent way too long on Hollywood Boulevard but it was super rainy so we didn't do much else. We couldn't really see the Chinese Theatre because there had just been the premiere for Gulliver's Travels that morning. And I couldn't see the Hollywood sign - I think because it was so rainy. haha. But it was still warm and fun and pretty enjoyable for me! A Canadian who hadn't really been to Los Angeles before!


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We went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant on Santa Monica. SOooo much shrimp haha. I also went to Le Grand Orange restaurant which I would recommend.

It was sad that it was raining while in California, but I feel like I still got to see quite a bit and enjoyed it a lot.