Kenny Rogers Rocked my World.

Oh yeah. You read that correctly. Kenny Rogers Rocked my World.

Although I typically have cutting-edge taste in music (please note the post on Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise and Seal's Kiss From a Rose as evidence of this - you could pretty much classify me as a music snob), once and I while I'll remove my air of superiority, and get jiggy with it, all for the sake of nostalgia. Last weekend was one of those (extremely rare) times.

First, I have to share a secret with you. I am one of the best dancers, in the world. Once I get some red wine into me. I mean, it's kind of insane how much rhythm is up in this shiznat. Again, upon consumption of some red wine. I will bootypop until I drop, and I just know everyone is watching that in awe. They laugh so hard, and I know it's because of the joy I have brought to them with my dope moves. My signature moves are often one-of-a-kind. No one can mimic the flail of my super long arms. It's how I roll, and.. whew! It feels so good to get that off my chest.

Now, the reason I'm the best dancer in the world is because I'm not limited to one type of dance. Jazz, hip hop, ballroom, interpretive, ballet... baby, I can groove. I took like, 4 classes of ballet in Kindergarten and that was all the training I needed for all genres. I'm like the prodigal Queen of Dance. Which brings me to Saturday's experience, and why Kenny Rogers rocked my world.

You know my gorgeous friend, Jules? Well, that girl knows how to host a party. Her party was the first of the Christmas parties, named, appropriately, Chrischtmas Dansching (we bust out the James Last for some polka action). Julie's parties are known for their dancibility, and this one was no different.

After some spirited consumption of wine and meatballs, I found myself downstairs, in the 'Club', with about 6 other people. When I heard Kenny come on, singing Raindrops on Roses, I knew it was time for my solo act. 
This song has been stuck in my head ever since, so I had to draw it!
 So I got my groove on. I was twirling around, leaping through the air.. I had my dancing shoes on and they were on FIRE. I'm an extremely humble person (obviously), but knew my audience would give me a standing ovation. It was magnificent.

And when I closed my eyes, turned around and took a grand bow, with a curtsey tucked at the end, there was total silence. I knew it. I'd rendered them speechless.

Upon opening my eyes, I realized they'd all left. I'd danced them out of the room. I was that girl. And one of the audience members was my husband, so what does that say about my skillz? So, maybe they aren't quite what I thought they were.

I made the best of it, and had a fantastic dance party by myself to Kenny and Dolly and it was a riot. Plus, when Jules came downstairs, I put Raindrops on Roses back on and we had one of the most skilled and seemingly-choreographed dance parties of life. And then we chair danced to Britney. And then I knew that I'm still the best dancer in the world, and so is Jules, and there's nothing more magnificent than dancing with a partner who knows how to shake it like a Polaroid picture.


As I walk through the valley...

Just a random thought here. Is there anything better than rocking out to Gangsta's Paradise on a Thursday afternoon? I think you might be hard-pressed to top that one.

Been spending most of life living in a Gangsta's Paradise.


Active Imagination - AKA A lie was borne on Christmas Day

As a kid, I absolutely believed in Santa Claus. When kids in school would tell me he wasn't real, I assumed they said that because they were bad boys (it was always the boys who said this), and that they were just mad because they didn't get presents. I knew he was real, and I would never turn my back on him.
By Marczini at sxc.hu

My Poppa (grandpa) had a very interesting sense of humour. Every year, at the Christmas Eve party he and my Nana hosted, he and his friends would spend a great part of the night taunting us children by scheming and sharing how, this year, they were going to catch Santa. They discussed plans for the perfect trap, shared how they had caught pieces of his beard in the past, and basically terrified us. Since Poppa's name was Gordon, and my dad's name is Murray, if he caught Santa, we'd go without gifts because Santa obviously distributed his gifts by using the phone book as a guide, and Adair, Gordon, came before Adair, Murray, in the phone book. Plus, there were all the other kids that wouldn't get gifts, like my friend, whose last name is Brown. My Poppa was going to be responsible for killing Christmas. It was a terrible idea.

Every year, when we got home from their party, I would try as hard as I could to go to sleep as quickly as possible. If Poppa didn't catch Santa, I certainly didn't want to be responsible for making Santa wait on the roof for me to fall asleep.

One year, I was too excited to sleep. I lay in my bed as still as I could, and was absolutely terrified when I heard the sound of a bag rustling. And rustling. And rustling. Holy crap, Santa was in my house, and I was awake. What if he caught me?

I stayed in bed, willing myself to fall asleep, eyes squeezed shut, barely breathing. Santa was in my house. The temptation to sneak out and catch a glimpse was overwhelming, but I couldn't risk being caught. Eventually, I drifted off, clutching the sheets tight in my hands.

When I woke up the next morning, I was so excited. Christmas had come, and it was another great one! On our way to my grandma's for Christmas dinner, I excitedly shared my Santa experience with my siblings.

And maybe I embellished a little.

 Okay, a lot.

"I heard Santa last night." I proclaimed, to which my sister, Christa, upped me - "remember the time I heard jingle bells on the roof?"

I was not going to be upstaged. I'd basically met Santa the night before.

"Well, I saw Rudolph's nose!"

Oohs and ahhs filled the car.

"Tell us what happened!" my little brother piped up.

So I did.

I wove an intricate tale about my experience seeing Rudolph, in the house, his blinking nose, and Santa's bag. It was great. It would've been even more great had it been true.

My story was met with such enthusiasm, I just had to share it with all my cousins, and aunts, and uncles, and grandparents. They were all completely amazed at my experience, which just happened to get more and more elaborate as I went on. It was the best Christmas, ever!


In looking back, I can't help but be embarrassed. How must my parents have felt, listening to their child, the LIAR - not just telling one white lie, but getting more and more excited as she told this lie, and sharing it with rooms full of adults who knew that I was lying?

It's a good thing Santa isn't real, because he totally would've given me coal for that.

On a side note, I had to source a photo of Santa for a client, and let me tell you - that was one disturbing trip across the internets. There are many creepy Santas out there. And why are so many of them drinking wine? Don't get me wrong. I enjoy wine. But I thought Santa drank cookies, milk and Coca-Cola?!


Oh no, how sad!

I happen to be a spy. Well, blogger is, for me. And I happened to spy today that someone found my page by googling:

"Mom say no love"

I feel sad for this person. I SAY YES, LOVE!

Modern Day Telepathy

I feel like I may have written about this before, but I can't find a post, so I'm just going to go ahead and rant, here, because I'm really, really good at that. I didn't say it would be interesting.

As a graphic designer, I have the wonderful privilege of sitting in front of my computer all day, at a desk. And then, since I freelance, I often do the same thing when I get home after work. As a side note, this is really, really bad, and it's totally going to kill me, PLUS it's not my fault that my butt is expanding.. it's the job! If you work at a desk all day, don't read this article unless you want to shift the blame of your big butt on your desk job, and in that case, feel free to print it out and keep it in your purse. It's totally not our fault, and YES you deserve some chocolate.

Thank goodness for Sir Mix-a-Lot. He understands me.

The purpose of this post is not to talk about butts, however. It's to talk about this modern day telepathy we have going on. There are days where I realize that I haven't spoken out loud to a single person for hours, yet I've carried on conversations with a gazillion people (maybe that's an exaggeration).

My coworkers may see me all quiet all day and think to themselves "hmm, she doesn't say much" (and this is also highly improbable, because my nickname is, after all "Chatty Patti" - also, no one actually calls me that, but people have referenced the doll before around me). I just sit there, iPod in, working away, and they probably think "Wow. That girl is so dull."

Little do they know, I am in the middle of an impressive monologue on the benefits of proper kerning, or perhaps I'm pitching a concept to a client... I am actually chatting away all day, but without using my vocal cords!

Do you think it could be possible that in a few generations the human species could evolve to not have vocal cords? Really, in today's society, with Live Chat, text messages and emails.. people everywhere are having millions of in-depth conversations without even opening their mouths!

That's totally weird, but also kind of cool. Remember those shy kids in school? Well, maybe now they can just text their friends instead of having to speak out loud. The new tech-savvy generation already does this, basically. I've seen them. They sit together at Starbucks without speaking - fingers flying as they text the person beside them. It's weird, it's strange, it's not incredibly efficient, but it's the way of the world (it's also a very good way to have proof of the stupid things their friends say, so then they can show the messages to their friends and judge them and laugh and it's hilarious I do this all the time Be careful what you text, people!).

It's so different for the new generations. When I was a kid, I was a HUGE note-passer. I wrote notes to my friends in class like nobody's business (sorry, mom). We would get one of the subject notebooks that you got in class, the ones with the big map on the front, and that would be a notebook between two friends. On the back page, we would write all the names for our classmates, and then come up with codes for them, like a legend. Then we would pass it back and forth and it totally looked like we were working on school work. Soooo ingenious. Then those Dear Diary things came out, and there was the toy where you could basically text message your friend, if they had one too - that was so neat (and, incidentally, when I googled it to get the actual name, I came up with "How to Write a Secret Admirer Note without Sounding like a Stalker" which is just really awesome), and then you could talk without speaking out loud, but now, with SMS and emailing in the picture, it's like sending private notes all day long - without the risk of your teacher reading it out loud!

Right now, this blog post in itself is like modern day telepathy. Kinda. I can spew my thoughts out without opening my mouth for a second. In fact, you don't know - maybe I don't even have a mouth.


What's your take?


Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

I know I was MIA last week, and I'll tell you why. Last year, Karen at The Art of Doing Stuff posed a challenge for everyone - to get all of their Christmas shopping completed by December 4th (I think that was the exact date, that is). My mom and I have a ridiculously huge list every year, so we thought we'd try to tackle everything in one weekend, and meet this challenge!

Well, we did it. We were exhausted, but we did it, and it gave us time for fun things like stress-free Christmas parties and baking and all that fun jazz. Best idea, ever. We planned to do it again this year, and on the same weekend - Black Friday weekend.

Since, in Canada, our Thanksgiving is in October (which is super nice because the leaves are all pretty and you can still sometimes have nice warm weekends - plus it spaces out the turkey and indulgences a bit, which is good news to me), black Friday has never really been a big deal around these parts. But, last year the stores picked up the trend and started having super awesome sales on Black Friday - and no mobs or stampedes of people - sounds great to me!

I took Friday off this year, and we got our shop on. And shop, we did. I have to say - I'd never realized just how much thought and effort goes into shopping - and when you're purchasing around 30 gifts in one weekend (between my mom and I), trying to keep track of everything, trying to be strategic, trying to remember sales, locations, everything - it's kind of like advanced calculations. I think Stephen Hawking would be proud, seriously. Big bang theory? That's got nothing on our shopping adventures.

In the past, theGuy and I would spend tons of time 'thinking' about what to get this person, and what to do for this person. He would say "I want to see what's out there, and then I'll decide." This would result in us spending countless hours wandering around aimlessly, trying to think of the perfect gift to get someone. I'm all for the 'let-it-reach-out-and-grab-you' strategy for Christmas shopping, but only if you start in January. It just doesn't work like that. My mom and I were still able to get thoughtful gifts for everyone - the pickings weren't as slim as in December, and I don't have to spend every single weeknight out shopping for the four weeks before Christmas. Hooray!

So, get out there and shop, people. Or get your craft on! The sooner you get it out of the way, the sooner you can live the dream, and enjoy the melodic and calm Christmas which the carols are about. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? More likely to happen when you aren't circling a mall parking lot looking for a spot. Enjoy the season!

And who knows - maybe you'll get into the spirit, and become inspired, too!

Now I have time to draw my face off!


One (wo)man's junk...

My friend, Jules, is, first of all, extremely beautiful and lovely to look at. Just had to put that out there. She's also happily married. Sorry boys.

Jules gets a great amount of pleasure in throwing things out. So, with the recent renos in her gorgeous house, she was on the warpath to chuck, chuck, chuck.

I was discussing my newest idea with Jules, which involved a nice old frame. I was mad because the local thrift stores were charging way more than I wanted to pay for a used frame that I was going to spray paint anyway.

Well, the stars were aligned, and Jules brought me up this bad boy, which she'd intended to throw out the day before and had forgotten.. and welcome to:

Chalkboard art in your home! :)


TheGuy and I went out the following weekend and picked up some pressed-board, or something like that. You know.. the stuff that ikea uses for the back of cabinets. It had a smooth surface and it was cheap, cheap, cheap ($12 for a sheet so big, it wouldn't fit in the car. We used about 1/4 of it for this project).

I happen to be an incredibly lucky individual with a very handy husband, who could see how excited I was about this project and took care of it while I was at work. What a great husband. He sent me these pictures:

He removed the painting from the frame and sprayed it a high gloss white. 2 coats.
Then he trimmed the pressboard and used chalkboard spray paint on it. 3 coats.
Then, he put it all back together for me, and we let it cure for three days.

We had stew for dinner that night. Holla.
Every time I walked by it, I got more and more excited. TheGuy does finish work for a living, and it just looked so beautiful and promising!

Then, I covered the entire surface of the chalkboard with chalk in order to 'prep' it. Since there are pores in the chalkboard, you want to prep it like this, otherwise the first thing you draw will stay in those pores and you'll have a ghost-like image of that first drawing forever, and that's just not cool.

And then I got my draw on! I didn't want to make a chalkboard that had our shopping lists on it, or things to do. I wanted to create a piece of art which could be changed whenever I felt like it. And! I already knew what I was going to do - I'd figured it out on the car ride home when we'd gotten the press board (which was very cold, since the hatchback was open to allow for its size). So I got my chalk on. And let me tell you, those famous chalk artists, they make it look easy. I don't know whether I had cheap chalk, or what it was, but it was a challenge. I look at it as a learning experience, and I'm stoked for the next time!

So, voila!

 For a much better tutorial on how to make a chalkboard, visit The Art of Doing Stuff.



Hey gorgeous!

I don't know about you, but I like to play tricks on my mind all the time, and leave little surprises around for myself just to give me a moment of "yay!" It's like my current-self giving a gift to my future-self, and my future-self is always like, "awww! That former-self is so thoughtful", except that it wouldn't be my future-self thinking that because in order to think, it would have to be current, and really, since I'm sharing a story of something I've done before, they'd all be former-selves and I feel like I have just made this all a lot more confusing.

My different selves get mad at each other, like morning-self being really mad at the-night-before-self because she stayed up way too late.

My different selves like each other sometimes like lunchtime-self being really happy that morning-self put grapes in her lunch.

It's a love hate relationship that I have with myself, which just seems natural, if you ask me.

This brings me to a story that my morning-self and end-of-work-day-self take great pleasure out of on a daily basis, and I thought I would share it with you because, well, you never know - maybe your current-self can start thinking of nice things to do for your future-self, and then we'll all walk around with smiles on our faces (note: night-before self is almost never never nice to the other selves because the night-before self is lazy and wants to stay up for another episode of American Horror Story, so this is why people are grumpy in the morning. Night-before-self is not friends with the other-selves, but it has the most fun, so it's not really missing out).

Can I point out here that 'self' is a really weird word? Self, self, SELF, self, self. Weird.

TheGuy showed me a hilarious sexy photo of himself a few months ago. The guitar shop he works at has a super talented photographer who works there to take photos of the repairs they've done, and of the vintage guitars in the shop. One day, theGuy was waiting for the photographer so they could take a break, and she was taking a really long time. So the Guy thought it would be hilarious to pose with guitars like the model that he is, and she captured some shots. And then he made the mistake of telling me, which meant that I begged him for the shot, and that's when my afternoon-self was very kind to the morning and end-of-day-selves because every single day, when I start my computer in the morning and shut down the programs at the end of the day, I smile with glee and clap my hands when I see this as my wallpaper:


Feeling some inner turmoil lately? Maybe your selves aren't being nice enough to each other. Spoil yourself. You deserve it.


Zip-a-dee doo-dah!

I believe that, no matter what career you select, when inspiration hits, it's one of the most absolutely magnificent things that can happen. It gives you a little pep in your step, a little something extra to smile about, and ideas that whirl around in your head like magic!

In any creative career, the dreaded "writer's block" applies. Whether you're a graphic designer, like I am, or a musician, or a writer - the worst experience is when you've got nothing. No inspiration, no passion, no ideas. 

Sometimes the ideas are in there, but just require some coaxing to get them out. When I was at Design Thinkers a couple weeks ago, my notes started out by being taken in the typical handwritten fashion. As the conference continued, you could visually see my creativity leaping out from inside me and onto the page. My simple notes transformed into decorative script, ornate swirls, block letters.. I was getting inspired!

This has put some extra pep in my step. A smile on my face. Some extra ideas in my mind. I feel like I'm walking around with the best secret in the world, because on the outside, I look like your typical gal. But my insides are bursting with colour, shapes, text and bubbles. And if it makes me want to whistle at theGuy, and if it makes me want to sing out loud, so be it.
Hope you're having a zip-a-dah dee-dah kind of day.


A character sketch - Pickle

When I was young, I used to walk home from school with my Walkman blaring - and I would select songs that seemed to fit the weather, my mood and the day because, after all, my life was a movie, and wouldn't showing a girl like me walking down the street be a really interesting opening scene of a movie?

Not really, but I thought so.

Since I believed that this would be the most amazing scene, I would imagine the camera starting off low, focused on my shoes as I walked through leaves, or mud, or water, or snow (I used to have to walk uphill both ways to and from school, in the snow, in my father's pajamas). Then it would pan in and take in my awesome 'flared' jeans, courtesy of Suzy Shier. All the way up until it zoomed out, an establishing shot- it would show my long, long, long walk home (I was so hard done by).

My favourite song to play while I was walking home at night was Warehouse by Dave Matthews. I swore it was the most climactic song ever, and people would be scared for what would happen next. And then, maybe I would walk through a warehouse and wouldn't that be clever!?

Today, remembering this, and thinking about how sometimes I feel like my life would be entertaining enough to watch that I could totally replace the Jersey Shore and everyone would be all "Snooki, who?", I thought to myself - I should introduce the cast of my life to my readers!

So I'm starting with:


Meet Pickle:

He isn't a very polite eater.
Pickle is currently the super hero of my life. What? He is! He can fly! Okay, actually, no he can't - his wings are clipped - but he could fly if his wings weren't clipped, and he can climb like nobody's business.

Pickle is a Lineolated Parakeet. That's basically just a small, tiny little parrot. And he's awesome.

If I don't talk about Pickle all the time it's because I'm making an honest and constant effort not to have every sentence that comes out of my mouth start with "oh, you should've seen Pickle the other day.." Seriously. I'll be designing a project and someone will say "What colour are you using?" And I'll think to myself "the loveliest yellow - bright and cheerful. Just like the outside feather on Pickle's wing". Okay. I'm striking that out because it makes me seem like a total weirdo.

Anyway - Pickle peppers my daily life with so much awesome. Linnie's aren't squawkers like a lot of birds. They're pretty quiet. They can pick up things that you say or teach them, but they're super shy. It's totally normal to walk into the room and hear Pickle quietly mumbling to himself - practicing something new he's heard. Once he gets comfortable that he's saying things correctly, the volume will pick up. You should hear him sing the theme song from Inspector Gadget. He's a regular Elton John.

His current roster of sounds includes: wolf whistles, Inspector Gadget's theme song, the sound of sirens (we live on a busy street), "Pickle, Pickle, Pickle," "Step up," and the sound of a bomb (you know - a long whistle with an explosion at the end? I taught him that.). I'm trying to teach him to say "You're pretty", because, really, who wouldn't feel awesome if they walked into a room and had someone tell them they're pretty, over and over? Right? When he is learning a new phrase or sound, he sits as close as he can to your mouth super still and listens with the most earnest little expression on his face.. it's really hard not to bite his head off (I tend to want to eat really cute things. Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife).

When he's hanging out by himself, he doesn't chirp or sing the way regular birds do. You know - Robin's sing their weird song, budgies chirp and sing like crazy. Pickle sings, but he sings like a person. He'll sing "dooo dee dooo dee dooooooo" to himself - but like a person, people. Like he says the words. And how cool is that?

Pickle also likes me more than theGuy which is kind of awesome for me, except when I don't feel like having a bird climb up my head to perch there like he owns it. He'll sit by my feet when I'm making dinner, like a dog, and he gets so excited to see me, his wings start to vibrate. He is adorable and perfect and I love him.

So there you go. Pickle. He's kind of a big dill.



Hello again, ladies and gentlemen. Okay, gentleman. I know that my brother, Turbo, is the only man to read this blog. And that's to be polite! Hi Turbo! You're so polite!

I was born, a long, long time ago (not really, but it sounds more dramatic), in "The Little Town that Did".

No, for realz. Like, that's how people refer to it. This is the marketing campaign of the town. It calls itself "The Little Town that Did" because it's the perfect description.

Chemainus, BC. Should I have shared this? Am I going to be a victim of identity theft now? Whatever.

Brief history of the town: Chemainus was a mill town, really, and thousands in the community worked at, or worked for companies who supported the local mill. So then the mill shut down in 1979, I think it was, and then all of a sudden it was like a ghost town. There was no work. What could people do!? (I should also mention that Chemainus is located on the beautiful Vancouver Island in BC - no one wanted to leave) This amazing visionary is all "We should make it be a tourist location! Let's paint beautiful murals all over the town." So then, after arm twisting, they did it, and now the town is covered in gorgeous murals and the tourism is awesome and they're basically winning at life.

My job is to support our customers by creating graphics and marketing campaigns for them. My clientele is national, so I get to work with people from PEI to BC. It's awesome.

I got a call from a customer this week, and realized that he services Chemainus. Excitedly, I told him that that's where I was BORN. I moved away when I was 3 and I've never made it back, but I know all about the murals and everything and it's so cool that he lives there. I kept going on and on and on (I tend to do that. The good thing is that, in this case, he seemed as stoked as I was!).

So imagine my delight today, when I received a package in the mail from this customer. It was a beautiful hard-cover book, in a hard-sleeve, with full colour - ALL about the murals in Chemainus, and the man who was behind them.


Like, seriously - who does that? That's one of the nicest things an (almost) stranger has ever done for me! I think it might be the nicest!

So to those of you who do little awesome things like that, you are so amazing and awesome, it's not even funny. I hope you know how fantastic you are.

Now I just have to figure out to pay it forward! Spread the love this weekend, people. Acts of kindness are the best things ever!


I've got nothin'

Hello there, friends!

Today, I've got nothin'. Really. Like, okay, that's a lie. I have lots of stuff, and it's all awesome. Well, not stuff per se, but great, wonderful people and excellent surroundings kinda stuff. You know what I mean? But when it comes to a creative thought for me to share with you.. that's what I have nothin' of.

I could just ramble on and on, and share with you the strange way my mind works (like, for example, when I said "I've got nothin'" it made me think of that commercial from the 80s - "Hey, what're you eating?" "Nothing! Nothing!" "Hey, what are you eating" "Nothing! Nothing".. and then that reminds me of the commercial for "It's a Mono, mono, it's a mono, mono", which I took great pleasure in singing as a child because it drove my sister, Did, NUTS. That takes me to "Jenga, Jenga, J-J-J-Jenga. You take a block from the bottom and you put it on top, you take a block from the middle and you put it on top. That's how you build the towers, you just don't stop, you've gotta build that tower putting blocks on top. And it teeters and it totters as you build it all up, it weebles and it wobbles but you don't give up. You take a block from the middle and you put it on top, you take a block from the bottom and you put it on top. Jenga. Great game, with a strange name." Which reminds me of "Have some Kiesh," which was a line from a strange commercial in my childhood where it looked like they were standing Oreo cookies on their side and then they'd be drawn to each other like magnets, but I guess that's how you lost because the dude in the commercial is all sad, like a sore loser, and that's when his lady friend is all sympathetic and offers him a breakfast pie. Weird, right?) but I'll spare you from that because no one needs to know what goes on in my head. It's a jungle in there, people.

Happy one-more-sleep-til-the-weekend!


Happy Days

Oh my god. I just wrote the longest post ever, explaining the differences between a desk-top publisher and a graphic designer, going into the details or crowd sourcing and spec work, and the I realized that non one who reads this probably has the slightest interest in my ramblings. Lucky for you, you're not in my presence, so I can hit the delete button and save you from listening to me prattle on, unlike everyone else in my life. Ha! I can't promise I won't ramble, but trust me, I was getting into ethics and theory of design, and I've saved you from all of that!

Design Thinkers is the name of the conference that I was away at last week, and I am just such a happy camper. If you want insight on what Design Thinkers is, or who organized it (the  RGD), just click on the links and you can find more info. Summary - it's a design conference where we get to listen to awesome keynote speakers, and attend seminars of our choosing which center around various aspects of design and types of jobs.

Stefan Sagmeister is a very talented designer, living in New York City. He is super into type, he is super, super brilliant, and he was a keynote speaker at Design Thinkers.

I honestly thought he'd be an arrogant man. Cocky at the least. The man has so much talent in his pinky finger, and in this industry of egos, it seemed impossible that he could be anything but egomaniacal.

But he wasn't.

Maybe he's an excellent actor, I don't know, but he was so endearing and amazing, and this man inspired me so much, and on a life level, not just a design level. So I thought I'd bring his story to you!

A few years ago, Stefan found himself depressed. He thought about his life, and thought about how, although he was not athletic at all, he had once spent a year training himself to be an athlete, and ran the NYC marathon. If it was possible to train his body, he thought, what if he tried to train his mind? Could he, in a year, train his mind to be happy? And thus began his experiment, which he is making into a film.

He shared a story from when he was in his early twenties. He was on the subway, and he noticed a strikingly beautiful woman, who was about 85 years old. He couldn't believe how beautiful she was, and he thought he should tell her. As he was trying to get up the courage to share this with her, she got off the subway. Stefan panicked, and hopped off, too. He called her, and told her how absolutely lovely she looked, and it made her very happy. Stefan decided that, from that day on, he would tell people the nice things he thought, in order to bring others happiness.

But he didn't, because that never happens, right?

So, part of what Stefan set out to do in his year-long happy experiment, was to tell people around him that he cares about them, and how wonderful they are, because he felt that this would make others happy, and in turn, make himself happy, too.

This struck a cord with me, big time! Do we do this enough?

TheGuy and I often play a game where I tell him something about himself, and he tells me something about me. A few weeks ago, I told him how he is the most generous person I've ever met (he would actually give you the last cent in his pocket, and the shirt off his back, and would be planning ways to get you more stuff, because that's just how he rolls). He told me that I am the most loving person, in the sense that I tell people, sincerely, how much I care about them, and how wonderful they are, as people.

I thought about that, and it's totally true. If I'm really into someone, I can't help but tell them how great they are. I fall in love with people all the time! And you know how people are sometimes just so amazingly great about something? I have to tell them! And when people are thoughtful!? I have to tell them (If they're way better looking than me, though, I probably won't tell them, because girls are weird like that)!

A big theme in Stefan's talk was to put aside self-consciousness in order to achieve happiness. Imagine walking down the street and seeing someone with a cup of coffee. It might make you think "oh! I want coffee", but instead of asking the person where they got theirs, you'll wander aimlessly to try to find a shop.

We should stop doing that.

It is so much  more endearing to share yourself with people. In the past, I've learned that talking about my biggest insecurities usually result in a resounding chorus of "ME TOO!" So, what are we so afraid of? Everyone else judging us? Because when I'm standing at a party NOT talking to that super pretty girl, THAT'S when I'm being judged. As a snob? As an insecure person? Either way, only total ding dongs'll kick you when you're down.

So now, I'm going to try to put that aside. What's the point of being self-conscious all the time? I mean, there's a difference between being humble and from having obstacles that exist solely due to insecurity or self-consiousness (like the coffee analogy). I know I'm a good person, and that's the best I can be. You're a good person, too, or you wouldn't be so kind as to read my ramblings. We need to stop questioning ourselves all the time, and start questioning how to train ourselves to be happy.

Thanks Stefan Sagmeister. You rocked my socks off.

Stefan Sagmeister is in the process of creating a film of his experiment, called The Happy Film. It's currently on  kickstarter, and though it's been funded, it'd be a great project to contribute to. I bet it'll make you feel more happy!

What little random things make you happy?


You remain my power my pleasure my babe.

Do you ever get in moods where you feel like you're craving a solid dose of Kiss From a Rose by Seal?

I do.

Ever since I worked at the drugstore and would catch the tail end of the song, I've been hit by these cravings like a pregnant woman craves pickles. So right now, I'm totally rocking out, and I just thought I'd spread the joy in telling you that did you know, that when it snows my eyes become alive and the light that you shine can be seen? Baby.

Just sayin'.

Speaking of snow - it snowed this morning. I saw flakes. I like snow for about five minutes. At Christmas, they're totally magical. So it's okay if it snows for the month of December. Plus, it makes for magical engagement stories:
This isn't WHEN he proposed to me, but this is where. And he really didn't want to have to get down on one knee again, but he did it for me, so it was kinda like a second proposal.

If the snow would just go away after Christmas, it'd be fantastic. Now. I'm not a total selfish greedy-guts. I think of the children! Since sleds, skis and skates are splendid specimens of seasonal sentiments (holla atchu, alliteration), I think it'd be fair to extend the period in which snow shall fall into the first two weeks of January.

And then that's it. That's all. It really is very  generous of me.

And this reminds me of a tale:

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was working in a retail store in the middle of winter. It had been a very snowy winter, and the weather network was calling for flurries that day.

In typical Canadian fashion, the girl often addressed the weather to her customers. That's how we roll. We're friendly and polite like that, thank you very much! A lady in a dark coat walked in and the girl smiled politely at her.

"Wow! It's really coming down at there, eh?" she asked, indicating to the large flakes that rested on the woman's shoulders.

The woman gave her a confused look and glanced down.

"Oh," the woman said, "It's not snowing. That's dandruff."


Maniac Monday

I am pretty much out-of-my-mind over the moon happy and flabberghasted and tired and inspired and everything all at one time today! It was a busy, busy last few days and nights, super fantastic and amazingly awesome. Design Thinkers was awesome and inspiring, and I can't wait to go again next year (Design Thinkers is the conference that I was at last week). Can I just say Stefan Sagmeister needs to be my new best friend? He's an incredibly talented designer, and I thought he'd be cocky and arrogant, but in fact he's awkwardly humble and awesome and I love the insight that he shared with us.

More on that later (like, another day, that is).

Since I'm writing this out on Sunday  night, and I really want to catch up on the Walking Dead because theGuy is out doing Remembrance Day things with his brother and everybody knows that The Walking Dead is best watched home alone so that you can reach maximum levels of fear (love it!), I'm going to share with you some Halloween photos from our party, and then I'm going to hunker down for some Zombie action.

Myself and my white-trash husband.
The costumes turned out. True to form, theGuy decided upon his costume totally last minute, and it looked fantastic. Isn't he a stud?

Creepy deeky!
So, MissJ, my future-sister-in-law and I were hamming it up. She was the murderer of the night and she did an excellent job. Here, she is the Wicked Witch of the West. My bro was Scarecrow and their daughter was Dorothy. I didn't see their daughter, except for in pictures, and it's probably a good thing because I think I would've eaten her for sure. Does anyone else find themselves wanting to bite into cute babies? It's so frustrating not to be able to eat them (and this is why I'm not a parent).

Be afraid.
 This is  my favourite of the halloween decorations I've created. I made it last year. It was super duper easy - just grabbed some heavy black paper and painted on the rhyme from Freddy Krueger. Pretty freaktacular! We have the perfect amount of stairs for this! The only con is that I still have this creepy song in my head, rolling around up there. It'll last til the Christmas tunes take over.

The food table.
Rummy worms were the biggest hit this year - gummy worms soaked in rum. Yum in my tum!

Witch finger cookies. Warts and all!
Witch hat cookies. Super easy and pretty tasty, too!
As always, the photo booth was a hit - so many hilarious shots. Halloween was a good one this year - we had a great time! Finished off the night with some wonderful pizza, and this brings me to the next little gem I have to share with you:

Twice the Deal is all about customer service.
Though it's very dark and hard to see, this is a photo of our pizza delivery guy. When he dropped off the 'za (some time around 3 am), he complimented my make-up. That's a surefire way to make me love you, so I invited my new best friend upstairs so I could snap this shot.

He got a little handsy, so I scooted him out instead of retrying for a better one. Handsy pizza guy, you were a good sport, but keep those hands to yourself!

Signing off :)



Happy Friday, my lovelies!

You know how grown ups go to conferences out if town and get to attend with their best childhood friend, which is extra awesome because, really, what are the odds that you and your best childhood friend would end up choosing the same career without knowing it, and you get super inspired AND have a really fun time because it's your friend's birthday and now she's thirtyonederful, and how your day and nights are action packed with awesome?

Well, that's my life right now, and it's great! So, sorry for the lack of posts, but it's legit!

And I bought a new book, and it makes me so excited!

So happy Friday!



If you haven`t seen this video yet, well, you've probably been living under a rock. And that's kinda sad, except that you're reading this right now, so that means you're out from under that rock, so firstly: congratulations! That must've been hard, living under a rock! And secondly: You probably have better things to do than read this blog right now, like maybe find a new home, and take a shower. Just sayin'.

Anyway - let this video introduce you to my fodder for today:

Bloood - Not Funny!

Since Obama went and won the election today, and I'm Canadian and everything, I was thinking about the inauguration of Obama, and what I was doing that special day.

And then I remembered. And then I thought, well, okay, I'll share that story. I'm nice like that.

On inauguration day, 4 long years ago, I was working for a local design firm. We'd decided as a team that it would be a super great idea to donate blood on a regular basis. And we had been. And it was badass. Because I'm not afraid of needles! Okay, I am a little, but just enough that I get a little bit of shaky adrenaline and then I can talk myself out of being scared even though I am a little, and then I get the needle and it's this cool rush and wow I just realized I sound like a heroin addict.

I assume. I've never actually met a heroin addict, I don't think, but I imagine that's what a heroin addict would say.  Not that there's anything wrong with heroin addicts. Except the heroin part.

So anyway. The buzz you get when you donate blood is kinda cool. A little lightheaded. Kinda hungry, kinda not attached to your body.

It's kinda cool! Other than the fact that you're so totally not supposed to feel like that (who knew!). I'd learned that a 'head buzz' is not a good thing while donating blood in my previous visit when the staff at the blood clinic we were donating at asked "How are you feeling", and I responded, sounding like a hippy "gotta love the head rush, man.."

K. That's not supposed to happen. 

So this time, it's inauguration day, and I was all amped. I'd prepared myself better this time. I ate a bunch of broccoli AND spinach the night before to get my iron up, and I'd worked out all week to get the blood pumping. I'd had a full breakfast, then an apple, went easy on the caffeine and drank a boatload of water because those are all the things they said to do. I was feeling freaking magnificent. And it was inauguration day. I was going to get to watch the first African-American president be inaugurated on tv, while being a good person and donating blood. 

Who has two thumbs and is awesome? This girl!

Once I answered the oh-so-awkward survey ("Have you ever had sex in exchange for drugs or money?"), I plunked myself in one of the special chairs in the big room that held all the wonderful people donating blood, who were all facing the television playing the inauguration special. Obama was about to make his speech. We were stoked.

The flabotomist (oh yeah. I know the technical term for a vampire!) inserted the needle and away I went. Watching the tube. Totally relaxed. Thinking about how my system was going to rejuvinate and create all kinds of new healthy blood and how one day my blood would be used to help someone who was sick or injured and how life was grand (does the word 'blood' make you queasy? Blood, blood, blood.).

Obama walked up to his podium. All of a sudden I noticed that the corners of my vision seemed a little blurry. Oh, weird. The room was becoming a strange tunnel. A tunnel that was closing in on me. It was kind of a dark tunnel, and Obama's speech wasn't in English. The TV was moving further and further away. That was kind of strange. 

"Haha!" I thought to myself. "Obama is the light at the end of this tunnel."

"What the hell!" I thought to myself. "How did I get in a tunnel?"

My fingers were numb. This tunnel needed air conditioning. I was freezing to death!

I looked to my right, where my boss was racing me to see who could fill up the plastic pint-sized bag first (we later learned that it's not good to 'race' when donating blood because it means the 'winner' has higher blood pressure). He was smiling, watching the screen.

"Maybe I can telepathically tell him that I'm stuck in this tunnel." I thought. For some reason, speaking seemed like it would take way too much effort.

The telepathy didn't work. I looked to my left, where my lovely coworker was flipping through a magazine. I wiggled my eyebrows at her, and then I thought about how weird eyebrows are. 

I was falling. Falling down the tunnel. Obama was merely a squiggle on the screen, and there was a strobe light going off in my brain. 

That's when I realized that, oh crap, this wasn't a weird Quentin Tarantino flick. I was totally going to pass out. 

Inwardly, I was panicking. I was jumping up and down, waving my arms, yelling "Yooo hoo! Can someone please help me?"

Outwardly, I just sat there.

I needed help. Nurses were in the room, but I couldn't seem to catch their eye. I knew I couldn't yell, it required too much effort, and besides that, if I got a sound out, it might have been a scream. And that would've been embarrassing.

Finally a nurse walked by who looked at me. 

"I need help," I squeaked. That was exhausting. By now, the tunnel meant the world looked like how it does through a pinhole camera. I was totally going to die.

"ICE!!!!!!" yelled the nurse.

Footsteps and commotion drifted towards me, and the nurse quickly flipped me up-side down.

"Haha. This is funny." I thought to myself. "I'm upside down."

My blood began to trickle towards my head, which may have been because I was up-side down, or perhaps it was the swarm of nurses who were packing my neck, my shoulders, my wrists, my body, with ice.

They pulled the needle out of my arm and talked really loudly. I was floating on a cloud, so I don't know what was happening.

Finally, the room started to materialize around me. 

"Oh, thanks." I said, completely mortified. There were like.. 400 people in the room, all looking at me like I was a weirdo.

Okay, maybe there were like 10 people. But still. It was mortifying. I wanted to crawl under a rock (maybe the one from earlier in this post!). People, my boss was there.

Then I totally got in trouble because I should have told them that I typically get light headed when donating blood. And then I was told that none of my blood could be used now because it wasn't a full bag. And then my boss told me I was fired.

No, I made that last part up.

But then I got an extra helping of Fudgeeos and that was pretty cool.  And I got a coke, and that was cool because I really love coke.

But then I had to go back to work, and that wasn't so cool (note to employers: people who almost die should totally get the afternoon off).

So now Canadian Blood Services calls me frequently, but I'm too scared to go back in, and I avoid their calls. And then I feel like an evil person because I don't donate anymore and people could use blood.

So, wanna go donate for me? It's easy, I promise! I mean, what's the worst that could happen? Convincing, aren't I?


Spanish rice, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind!

I'm on the couch, feeling sniffly and sorry for myself tonight. Due to this, I have nothing funny or witty to share with you.

BUT! That's why I save the goods! I can use them later!

Today, I will share with you a super-easy recipe for Spanish Rice. Super, super easy, yet it makes you feel super fancy because you made it from scratch(ish), and it's way better than that pre-cooked stuff that you stick in the microwave in the plastic bag it came in for 90 seconds, because that's just weird. There's also a lot of salt and preservatives in those weird plastic bag kinds of rice, so skip that and move to the real deal. It's better, more economical, and if you make the salsa from scratch, you can officially quit your day job to be a domestic god(dess).

Spanish Rice

1/2 small red onion, diced (or yellow - feel free to mix it up!)
4 cloves of garlic, diced (or less, if you're afraid of garlic)
1.5 tbsp oil
1.5 cups(ish) of salsa (I make my own from scratch using epicure salsa seasoning)
1 cup rice (I use Uncle Ben's whole grain rice)
Water or chicken broth (this depends on the rice you are using. Read the package directions, and however much water it calls for, subtract about 1/2 cup - as your salsa will have some liquid in it - you won't need as much).

1. In a pot on the stove, add 1 tbsp of oil, your onions and garlic.

Oh yum yum. Garlic in the tum, tum!

2. Saute on med-high for about 3 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
3.  Turn element to medium, and add 0.5 tbsp of oil and dry rice.

Suspiciously delicious.
4. Brown this rice on medium, stirring very frequently, for about 5 minutes.
5. Add your salsa and water/chicken broth (chicken broth tastes way better! Veggie broth would work, too!)

I know this looks disgusting, but trust me.
6. Cook rice as per package directions (mine requires it to simmer on low for 20 minutes, so that's how I roll)

7. Eat!

Seriously. It's so easy. I was astounded when I discovered how easy this is. So, so easy. AND, it's totally tweakable. If you want it to be spicy, use spicy salsa, or add cayenne to it. To add a little more of a tex-mex flair, throw in some cumin. Like cilantro? Get on that! Garden fresh cilantro salsa - yum, yum! Want to feel even more fancy? Use home made chicken broth instead of water. You're so fancy! Wanna use Rotel instead of salsa (Canadians - Rotel is only the most amazing mixture of tomatoes and peppers - available only in the US)? DO IT! Beans? Booyeah! The world is your oyster!

My favourite thing about this recipe is that I always have rice, garlic, onion and the makings for salsa on hand, so I can whip this together whenever I want. And since theGuy and I are on a tex mex kick lately, that means it's always nearby!

People, theGuy could make this (he doesn't, but he could). You can, too!

Now, please excuse me as I snuggle down into the depths of my couch and enjoy myself some X-Files!


Children of the corny

My family and I are kinda weird.

And we're definitely very, very loud.

In fact, I think the noise and chaos of the gang of us was pretty much the only initiation ever required of theGuy.

That's what happens when you have four siblings. Each has to out-shout the other. That's just how we roll. And it just so happens that all of us are hilarious all the time, so there is always hysterical giggling and guffawing and all that jazz. We're just cool like that.

One of my favourite bloggers, Lauren, over at Filing Jointly...finally wrote one of those "Five Things Friday" on Tuesday, which got me thinking about my childhood and rules and all that stuff.

It made me think - instead of laughing to my siblings about some of these funny things - why not open the gates and air our family's dirty laundry! You're loving this, aren't you, mom?

To start - these were the rules in the Adair house, when at the dinner table:

1. No TV at the table.
2. No books at the table.
3. No singing at the table.
4. No laughing at the table. 

Go back and read that list, people. While numbers 1-3 sound pretty reasonable, although the implementation of these rules basically meant "No fun at our house", you're probably thinking to yourself that its a little harebrained to say "no laughing at the table". And I completely agree.

We were totally sad, dismal, gloomy children.

Not really.

We still laughed at the table, and with 5 kids to look at, there were many opportunities to catch a sibling's eye and make faces while a parent wasn't looking. The trouble with five children laughing at the table at once is that they get louder and louder, and louder, and then there's always the possibility of choking or something, and we... we weren't really an athletic bunch.. Turbo once almost bit his finger off, thinking it was a french fry. Liquids could shoot out of noses.... beans could fly across the room, we could fall off of chairs. Dinner time had the potential to be quite deadly. So, okay. They were looking out for our best interests.

Then there were swear words. There were lots of words we couldn't use in our house.  You know the standards - the eff bomb, etc. We also weren't allowed to say "shut up", or "WHAT?" (it's "pardon, people!"), or "huh", "fart" (we called it a "fouf"), etc. etc. etc. We weren't allowed to be obnoxious adolescents and add "ahhhh" at the end of words - you know, like: "Daaaaadahhhh. Noooooahhhh. Whyyyyyahh? Mooooomah. Finnnnnneeeeah. That kind of thing.

Totally makes sense. Though it's funny when kids swear, no one wants their kid to be the potty mouth in the classroom. Or in the professional world. Unless you're a sailor (or a guitar repair technician - ask theGuy - he'll say "eff yeah!" [but not with the "eff" part.. he'll use the whole word]).

But then there were the random words.. like the incident I am going to share with you, which is just not cool (and I share it in a comment on Lauren's blog this week):


My little brother was bugging me. A lot. That's what little, stupid, dumb-dumb brothers do.

So, I was yelling at him because he wouldn't stop, and my mom was all "Don't yell at your little brother", and I was all "but MOM! He's such a BUGGER." My mom scolded me and let me know that I was never to use that word again.

I didn't get it! He was a bugger! He was bugging me, and so, a bugger!

My mom sent me to my room and told me I was not to use that word again.

The result of this exchange was me flipping through the dictionary to understand what the true meaning of 'bugger' was.

I lost my childhood innocence that day.

If she's just ignored it, I probably never would've said that word again.

Happy Friday!


How hard theGuy sleeps.

Earlier this week, I shared a story with you about how theGuy bolted awake in the middle of the night, scaring me, almost to death. Yeah. I totally almost died. Here's the story.

You really have to know theGuy in person in order to fully appreciate how hilarious that was, in retrospect.

And now I will tell you how completely out-of-character this was for a man who sleeps so hard, it takes an hour of the snooze button and me yelling "it's time to get up" in order to wake him up every morning.

Once upon a time...

I'd decided that, amongst the wedding planning, it would be great for he and I to get away and go to the fantabulous tourist trap, Niagara Falls, for his birthday weekend so we could "reconnect". Really, it was so we could stuff our faces with Brazilian BBQ and not have to answer the phone.

Aren't I so thoughtful?

The hotel room was super nice, and I slept like a log.

At about 7:30am, I woke up to an alarm. In my very confused state-of-mind (ask anyone - I am a very discombobulated person when I wake up in the morning. I've even knocked myself out while putting on socks. True story.), I thought some jerk had set the alarm as a joke.

Not funny.

I fumbled to turn off the alarm, checked to see if it was my phone, and then, realized that the sound was coming from a circular device in the ceiling.

The fire alarm.

These suckers are designed to wake the dead.
I jumped out of bed and ran from one end of the room to the other, my arms flailing in a panic. I peeked out the peephole to see if there was anything in the hall (somehow, in my confusion, remembering that you're not supposed to open doors if there's a fire in the hall because the oxygen would feed the fire), and ran back and forth, trying to get dressed, while trying to figure out what was going on.

Finally, I realized I could look out the window, where I saw 6 firetrucks pulling up. Oh no. We were going to die.

TheGuy was sound asleep.


He grunted.


He groaned.

The fire alarm was still going off, and I was hopping across the room with one leg in my pj pants and the other in my jeans.


Finally, theGuy propped himself out of the bed. He moseyed over to the window, looked out, saw a fire truck leaving and said calmly "It's fine, they're leaving. No one was evacuated."

And promptly went back to sleep.

Can you imagine if that were a real fire? He slept through a fire alarm. How is that possible? He slept through me flailing and frantically panicking. How is that possible?

One day, when we have babies, I'm not going to find this so funny.