I’m a GBL girl

GBL

Magical Lifeblood in a Cup

I know this is probably not a popular opinion, but I’m okay with that.

I have a handful of opinions that go against the popular ones (I know, big surprise, right?)

Anyway. Here goes. I’m not a huge fan of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Sure, I’ll drink them when autumn hits. I mean, I’m not a monster.

But I don’t fall all over myself about the PSL like a preteen at a Biebs concert. The seasonal beverage that holds a special place in my heart?

The gingerbread latte.  It’s magic in cup. It’s my magical lifeblood (coffee, of course) with a little bit of holiday cheer.  And yeah, it’s early to start talking about holiday cheer. Especially when I’m a pretty loud Grinch about that time of year.

But when it comes to gingerbread lattes?

Bring it on.
NaBloPoMo November 2014

 

This month, I’m participating in NABLOPOMO! So are some of my friends. Visit their blogs for more Nablopomoey goodness:

Are you participating? Let me know and I’ll add you to my list.

My Superpower

I always choose the table next to the super awkward first date. It’s my superpower.

It doesn’t matter what kind of establishment I’m at; a restaurant, a pub, a bar, a coffee house. I’ve even managed to find the awkward first date at sporting events. It doesn’t matter what time of day, what day of the week; if you’re having an awkward first date, chances are I’m at the next table over cringing on your behalf.

You know, but in a non-creepy kind of way.

Anyway. On Friday, I was doing some freelance work at a coffee shop, as I like to do from time to time for a change of scenery. And across from where I was working, a couple seated themselves at a table, coffees in hand. It had all of the signs that I’ve come to know so well, thanks to my superpower; awkward small talk, tight smiles, glances over the shoulder and around the room. At one point, the woman turned so her entire body was facing away from her date. She checked her watch. Thirteen times. She leaned far back in her chair, creating as much distance between them as physically possible without falling backwards out of her chair. She crossed her arms. Her date was not picking up on her ‘I’m just not that into you’  signs. When the woman pulled out her phone and started scrolling through it while her date rattled on about his love of the outdoors, I was cringing internally so hard, I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to keep the look on my face neutral any longer. Nothing says ‘I give no fucks about this date’ more than pulling out your phone to text and browse.

When the woman escaped to the bathroom, I figured that was the last I would see of her. I figured that it was probably the last Clueless Dude would see of her, too. She’d be doing him a favour honestly.

About fifteen minutes later, though, she returned, much to my surprise. It didn’t surprise Clueless Dude at ALL, because he’s clueless. She was working very hard to extricate herself from the date, telling Clueless Dude that she was sorry, but she should be going. He didn’t seem to get it. I fought the urge to pass him a note explaining the situation.

Finally, the woman managed to get her message across. He went in for a hug. She grimaced and said no before making a break for it.

My superpower, ladies and gentlemen.

Next time, I think I’m just going to stick to take away.

 
NaBloPoMo November 2014

 

This month, I’m participating in NABLOPOMO! So are some of my friends. Visit their blogs for more Nablopomoey goodness:

photo credit: hfabulous via photopin cc

 

Not at all awkward…

 

CAH

Today, my brother turned 28. What the actual eff.

He wanted to celebrate by having people over to play board games and he made his famous homemade pizza. My brother and sister-in-law have a pretty impressive collection of board games, but the birthday boy wanted to try out the game he’d just received for his birthday from his wife; Cards Against Humanity.

It’s like an R-rated version of Apples to Apples, an interesting fill-in-the-blank style game, and it is absolutely terrible.

It’s also heaps of fun.

But man, can it be awkward. Especially depending on who you’re playing the game with.

Yesterday, at my brother’s house, we sat down with my brothers, my sister-in-law and her parents. I don’t know her parents very well. But the idea of having to read out loud cards that said thinks like ‘Fleshlight’, ‘unreciprocated oral sex’ and ‘A sad hand job’ around a retired cop and my sister-in-law’s mom…

…but it turns out, it wasn’t awkward at all.

That and we quickly learned ‘Kanye West’ or ‘A sad hand job’ wins. Every. Damn. Time.

 

NABLOPOMO 2014!

NaBloPoMo November 2014

It’s November and that means…. NATIONAL BLOG POSTING MONTH. Or, because this is the internet and we love, love, LOVE to shorten things; it’s NABLOPOMO.

I’ve given this a whirl in the past, with various levels of success. This year, I’m looking at it more as a way to gently nudge me to write for my personal blog. I’ve been neglecting this, even more so since I’ve been writing articles and blog posts for other people thanks to freelancing.

So, here we go again.

Are you participating this year? Let me know and I’ll link to your blog in my Nablopomo posts!

 

Snarky snark snark

Snark Squad!

I’ve been the fan of some pretty questionable TV over the years.  Some of it, I knew full well that it was awful when I watched it, but I didn’t care, I loved those stupid characters anyway. Some of the stuff I watched, I was oblivious to its awfulness when I first watched it as a teenager, but as I’ve revisited some of those shows thanks to Netflix and full TV series being available on DVD box sets. And it surprises me how real life and growing up can ruin nostalgia for some of those old shows.

Luckily, a few years ago, some of my good friends on Twitter introduced me to the Snark Squad. They have eased the trauma caused by revisiting some of my old TV favourites. They’re basically this awesome support group for people with questionable taste in TV, books and movies like myself, captained by Sweeney and Lorraine. They have a handful of awesome and hilarious series contributors and have been featuring some guest-recappers to assist them wade through The OC. Remember that show?

California, here we come!

Anyway. So this is basically my long-winded way of saying Snark Squad is awesome and you should check out their blog. And you might just recognize their guest-recapper today, because SPOILERS…

 

It’s me.

 

 

 

Things I Love About October

October

It’s October 1st and I can’t believe how much October love I’ve seen today. Autumn is by far my favourite season and September and October are by far my favourite months. Here are some of the things I love about October:

  • Leaves changing colour: When I lived in Australia, I didn’t get to see the same colour change in the leaves in the Autumn (plus, October isn’t Autumn in Oz). I love the colours of autumn, especially the oranges and reds of October.
  • Cooler temperatures: I love sweater and scarf weather, and while I’m not a huge fan of the frigid winter temperatures, I love the cooler, cozier weather of October.
  • Saturday trips to the country: Nothing beats a trip to the farm markets, apple orchards or pumpkin patches in October. I love buying harvest produce, going apple picking or choosing the perfect pumpkin. As a kid, my parents would take us out for walks in the fields, tractor rides and to play in hay bale mazes. Not going to lie, I still love doing all of those things.
  • Thanksgiving: Canadian Thanksgiving falls in October. It’s one of my favourite holidays, because it’s not as chaotic as Christmas, not as busy as Easter and is the first long weekend after things go ‘back to normal’ after summer. When my brothers and I were in college and uni, it was also the first weekend when we’d all be home from school. Oh, and there’s always pie.
  • Halloween: I love the fun of Halloween; decorating, carving pumpkins, going to Halloween parties and handing out candy to trick-o-treaters. Not to mention scary movie marathons and the Simpsons’ Tree House of Horror specials.

Do you love October? What are your favourite things about this time of year?

Survival Tips for Freelancers

It’s kinda been my worst kept secret: for the last few years, I’ve been freelancing full-time.  I’ve done freelance work on and off since I graduated university, but was shoved into it on a more full-time basis when I was laid off from my job when we lost a major funder (The joys and excitement of working for non-profits!). At first it was pretty scary. Let’s be honest. It’s still pretty scary. But it’s also been heaps of fun and I have learned and continue to learn a lot about surviving as a freelancer.

Whether you’re thinking of dipping a toe into the freelance pool or diving straight in, here’s a few things I’ve learned about working as a freelancer:

Put yourself out there: Freelancing isn’t generally an ‘if you build it, they will come’ type deal.  You’ve got to get out there and tell people what you’re doing. I’m not saying you have to commission a sandwich board to wear around the city or to family functions, but having an elevator speech in mind when the ‘What do you do?’ question comes up is handy. There’s a slew of tools that can help you do this, too. Business cards, a website and social media accounts are also a good way to start putting yourself out there.

Be honest & realistic: Especially when you’re getting started as a freelancer, it’s easy to want to promise your clients the moon in order to secure new business. But you absolutely must be honest and realistic with your clients and with yourself. You want to be sure you’re making promises you can deliver on. You don’t want to risk breaking your back and hurting your reputation by not meeting expectations. Be honest and realistic about what you can do and the timelines you need to get the work done.

Be available & accessible: This probably goes without saying, but when you’re starting out freelancing, you want to be as flexible with your availability as possible. I’m not saying stress yourself out like one of Miranda Priestly’s assistants, but you are going to want to put in some extra time and energy. When I started out, I had some pretty strange hours. I’d be working away on a Sunday until well after midnight. I’d take meetings with potential clients whenever, wherever, you might as well have called me Shakira. You also want to make sure you’re accessible, so provide clients with a reliable way to be in touch with you, whether it’s email, text, mobile phone number– or all of the above.

Build your network: Start growing your networks! And I’m not talking your social media networks, but those apply, too. While it’s one of the biggest  clichés out there, there’s a reason why it’s cliché; it is kind of a thing. Building your network, both on and offline, is a great way to build a list of potential clients and let them get to know you. You’ll want to build a network with other freelancers, too. Don’t look at them as competition; other freelancers are a great resource and can open you up to the opportunities of collaborative projects.

Grow some balls: While it’s super fun working for yourself (Though honestly, you’re working for your clients, but ANYWAY), there are some parts of the job that can be awkward, unpleasant and just plain hard (That’s what she said). Sometimes you’re going to have to have some awkward conversations, sometimes you’re going to have to push back when a client is being difficult or not paying on time. You’ve got to be prepared to tackle these things head on in order to be a successful freelancer.

Be patient: Just like anything that takes hard work, establishing yourself as a freelancer is going to take some time. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen over night. Keep at it, put in the hard work and you’ll see results.

 

Remembering a friend on WSPD

Green balloon

In high school, I didn’t have a specific clique that I belonged to. I was on the athletic council, had geek friends, art kid friends, drama and music friends. But I felt most at home with the outcasts.  The group of friends that were self-proclaimed misfits, the ones that didn’t really fit into any of the stereotypical boxes our high school hierarchy tried to fit them into.

These people were odd, but they were genuine, kind, smart and creative. There was always someone around to talk to, and we had gotten pretty good at being supportive, while trying to leave out any form of judgement. It was easy to just be yourself around them and that was a safe, comforting thing when someone was fighting through the ups and downs of high school.

Today, I’m thinking about one of my friends from this group in particular. He was thin and lanky in high school. I remember noticing him because I thought his taste in music was odd. Techno. Techno of all kinds, but he had a certain love for French techno. He always wore these huge headphones and was happy to share them with anyone that would give his favourite music a try. He was a fringe art kid in high school. Creative, artistic and he had an excellent eye for photography. His sense of humour offbeat, he was a bit goofy.  He was a kind soul, even though people weren’t always kind to him, because he was different.

I last saw him in person a few years ago at a friend’s wedding.  Still thin and lanky, but it suited him. He looked comfortable in his skin. He seemed happy and was just as kind and genuine as I’d remembered.

A few weeks ago, when I read the message that he’d gone missing, I felt an ache in my heart. When I heard he’d passed away, my heart broke.

It was once again a reminder that so many people suffer in silence.  Even if someone seems happy and comfortable and settled, that doesn’t mean they’re not suffering. It doesn’t mean that they’re okay.

My heart breaks that someone who seemed so happy and was kind and such a great friend was hurting so intensely. That he felt he had no one to go to, that he felt it wasn’t going to get better.

I wish I’d told him that it does get better, that he is loved and even if he didn’t believe it, there were people who would’ve dropped anything to help him fight. I  would’ve, even though we hadn’t been as close as we used to be. That no matter what, he was never alone.

I tried writing about this sooner, but to be honest, the emotions were too raw. I needed some time to get my head around it. To work through the guilt and anger and frustration that the world has once again lost a beautiful human being to the epidemic that is depression and suicide.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is never easy to talk about, there is still a huge stigma attached to it. But the World Health Organization says that more than 800,000 people commit suicide each year. That’s about one person every 40 seconds. It’s an epidemic. So we need to keep talking about it.

 

 Suicide Prevention Resources:

Canadian Association for the Prevention of Suicide
National Council for Suicide Prevention
The Trevor Project
International Association for Suicide Prevention

 
photo credit: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

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