Singers That We Secretly Love

June 28, 2013
The other day at work, a few of the ladies and I were talking about singers that we secretly love and would be embarrassed to share with the world. Brittany Spears came up, as did Shania Twain, Celine Dion and Sarah Brightman. We talked about how rude it is that some people feel the need to judge you for the music that you listen to, and think less of you because you enjoy the music of someone that they think is awful. We then talked about our favourite songs from the above artists. If you've read through this blog, you know that I love Celine Dion, and here is my favourite song of her's:

Honestly, I love so many songs of her's, but I remember that her Falling into You album was the very first compact disk that I ever bought -- when my family bought a CD player, my Dad gave each of the members of my family $25 to buy whatever album we wanted. "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" is the very first song on the album and I really love the way the song begins -- that piano -- and don't get me started on her voice.

I guess mine isn't much of a secret anymore, but what singers do you secretly love?


A Little Like Katharine Hepburn

June 24, 2013

As I was getting ready for the day, I thought that the outfit I had chosen to wear looked a lot like something Katharine Hepburn would wear. There was just something about the top of my dress that stood out in my mind as very Katharine Hepburn. I think it was the collar, the buttons, and the detail at the shoulders -- very much like the classic button down shirts you can see her wearing in photographs.

Now, she's never been someone that I have looked to for fashion inspiration, but she always dressed well and the clothes hung perfectly on her frame. She was one of those women that could wear anything she wanted to and always look smashing.

As I was thinking about Katharine Hepburn's style, I quickly remembered of one of the only films that I recall seeing her in. A film called Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. I was fortunate enough to catch the beginning of it on TV one night, and was immediately sucked in. I highly recommend it.


A Single Moment

June 21, 2013
I shared this story on my personal Facebook page many years ago after a beautiful conversation with a child that reminded me to pay more attention to the world around me and I want to share it with you.

June 2, 2010

Yesterday, one of the children from my preschool room approached me while we were outside -- the sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day.

"Isn't this amazing?" she said to me.

"Isn't what amazing?" I asked her, assuming she would tell me about an insect or something or other.

"This!" she said while lifting her arms and gazing up at the sky.

"Yes," I said to her, "the Earth is amazing!" and off she went to play.

It is strange how wonderfully simple a beautiful day in the Sun can be; how quickly we can forget how important a single moment shared between a child and the world around them can be; how we no longer see how amazing that single moment can be for ourselves as we grow to no longer see the world around us.


Father's Day Chalk Art

June 19, 2013

Near the end of the day, we were able to go outside and play. Little Boy decided he wanted to draw with the sidewalk chalk. It was a great bit of time before we headed over to my parents house for supper.


Shop Lessons

June 17, 2013

Art Print from Ann Shen Shop

When I first opened up my shop, I was among those people that wondered why people from around the world weren't flocking to my shop and buying everything that was in it. I found a lot of support in the discussion threads of the Etsy Success Team, but soon realised that a lot of the people had that "woe-is-me" attitude and so I moved on to find blog posts and internet articles about how I could make my shop better and become more successful. I don't believe that any of my strategies have worked so far, but I keep plugging away and obviously people are finding me and finding what they are looking for. I'm not going to be a millionaire any time soon, or any time far away either, but I am happy with where my monthly sales are and I am delighted in how far I have come since those first few months where I sat at the computer constantly looking at my stats while feeling down about myself.

I have to tell you, there is no magic recipe or code to make a successful business. Even if it feels like some businesses are successful at the wave of a wand, there are others that have taken years to build themselves up and those are the businesses that I look up to. Although it would be nice for my shop to be instantly popular, there is something to be said for taking things slowly. There has been quite a bit of a learning curve involved in opening up a business, but I like that I have been able to take my time in figuring things out and I feel like I have developed relationships with the people that I look up to and am able to ask them advice on anything. I feel that works much better for me than scrolling through depressing discussion threads.

The above quotation has helped me a lot recently. I keep reminding myself that although my shop is already two-years-old, it is still in the beginning stages of life and there are certain things that I must do in those beginning stages in order to reach the goals that I would like to reach in the middle stage. Right now, my focus should be on those things and not on what other people are doing that have already reached their middle stage. I should be looking up to those people and learning everything I can from them so that I can have a middle stage that I will be proud of too.


What Do You Love About Dad?

June 14, 2013


Father's Day is a tricky celebration at my workplace. Many of the children that I work with do not see their fathers and don't have a strong male influence in their lives. We always have to remember which children don't have Dad's and adjust our Father's Day gifts accordingly.

This year I found this fantastic idea on Pinterest where you interview each child and ask them simple questions about their Dads -- or Moms, Grandpas, etc. We got some really cute answers -- including one Dad's full name. One little girl told me that her Dad's hair is "light", and another one told me that her Dad likes to play on the teeter-totter for fun. What I noticed, though, is that most of the children love that fact that their Dads take them to the park, and I know that my little guy is the exact same way.

What is something you love that your Dad does?

I personally love how my Dad is willing to help me with anything that I may need help with -- be it finding a phone number, building me a bench, or looking after Little Boy so that I can go to a movie with my husband. My Dad is always there, and I love him for it.


All It Needs is a Little Paint

June 12, 2013
I love taking something and turning it into something new. One of the most important things that I have learned in my years of watching HGTV is that if you find something that you like but you don't like the colour, you should still buy it because the colour can be changed. A lot of my projects come from finding an object that I like, and altering it somehow to fit my life -- as is the goal of most people that do DIY projects.

I love going into the local Value Village and finding objects to spray paint. My most recent project was these two brass elephants that ended up being a wedding gift for a girl that I grew up with. My sister-in-law informed me that they were good ones too because it means "luck" when the trunks are lifted up. A lucky find :)


8 Days as a Single Parent

June 10, 2013

I learned so many things about myself and what it is like to be a single parent while my husband was away on a business trip last week, leaving me alone with Little Boy for 8 days. While there were a few moments that felt hectic and I lost my patience, I loved the time that I had alone with my child -- not that I want to do it again any time soon -- and have the utmost respect for the mothers and fathers that do it by themselves every day.

What I learned:

1. Plan, plan, plan! When working later into the evening, I found that it is important to plan your suppers and cook them in a slow cooker so they are ready when you get home and you can eat right away.

2. Spaghetti sauce should not cook in the slow cooker for 10 hours as it can have a slightly burnt taste to it -- we still devoured it. 

3. Although I love sleep, my body can adapt and survive without as much as I am usually used to.

4. A staff meeting is no place for a toddler, especially if you want to catch all of the information.

5. Projectile vomit is a lot easier to deal with when there are two people -- so thankful my sister-in-law was around for that one.

6. When no one else is around and I have to do all the work, I do it fast and I do it well, otherwise I'm quite lazy and get others to do it for me -- this pertains to things at home, as well as at my job.

7. There is always time for exercise, even if it is at 8:45pm after the child has been put to bed and you're exhausted and you're training for a 5K run the following Sunday.

8. Make use of the outside world and get out of the house. Fresh air is good, and there is less stuff to clean-up before bedtime.

9. It's a lot easier to have two people at a restaurant to look after a child than one -- thanks to my Mom for sitting with my little guy so I could eat my supper.

10. The time alone with your child is the most precious time ever.


BBQ'd Potato Skins: A Pictorial Essay

June 07, 2013

We roast ours on the BBQ for a good 40-60 minutes -- poke a fork into the thickest pieces to see if they are ready -- but you could easily bake them in your oven at 350F for the same amount of time. Eat and be merry! Happy weekend :)


The Film Project: May

June 04, 2013
I'm so excited to share some of my favourite photos from The Film Project for the month of May. I had started taking photos several days before I introduced you to the project. Some of the photos are of objects and people around my home, but we also attended a wedding during the long weekend that I was able to snap some photos of. I am so pleased with the quality and richness of these photos. There is a beauty to them that cannot be found with a digital camera. For instance, I love the way the camera captured the light shining on my son's ball cap in the bottom photo.

There has been a bit of a re-learning curve involved. I haven't held this specific camera in my hands in more than seven years, and it's taken a bit of adjusting -- to my embarrassment, I even had to Google how to rewind the film. I only have a portrait lens, which is taking the most lovely photos, but I have had to get used to how far I need to stand away from my subject, and sometimes I hold the camera in front of me after taking a photo to see what it looks like -- not possible :)

I am really enjoying this project so far, though. I find myself being quite selective of when I use the camera because I only have 24 photos, and I usually only take 1-3 photos of each moment or subject. I can't wait to see what kind of moments I'll have for this month!

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