thursday wisdom

My general rule of thumb is if it's not firing you up - change it. Jimmy your life around 'til it works for you.

- Kal Barteski, lovelife


wednesday list

inspired by red otter's pre-end-of-summer list, i've decided to make one of my own, and damn it i'm going to make it as realistic as my little heart can possibly make it.

this month, i'm going to get my workspace organized. yep, that's right. finally. i've replaced the too-high stool that hurts my back with an ikea snille chair (in white, cause i'm still obsessed with all-white, punched up with bright colour. makes me think that i'm the next india hicks. yeah, right.) eventually, i'm going to get myself a skruvsta chair in black faux leather, but that'll be a dream for another month. but i've got my shelving unit, i've got my storage boxes... i just need a bit of motivation. lets look through those impeccably-designed rooms again, shall we?
i'm also going to take it easy. summertime goes so quickly - especially when you work in student orientation - so i have to remember to build nothing-time into my schedule. once i've finished workspace, i'm going to enjoy myself. i'm going to visit my dad some more, take hundreds (thousands!) of photos. i'm going to lie on the beach and read my book with my toes in the sand, and walk along the boardwalk. then i'll take more pictures. next weekend, i'm going to grand bend and sauble beach with my mom and sisters, so i'm sure i can get some of that done.
i haven't had near enough patio time this summer, either. or dairy queen. georgia mud fudge blizzards are what summer is all about. i'm not about to let this one fly by without a fight. or without another barbecue in flip-flops.
image courtesy of domino magazine


back roads in the summer

summer nights are cooler now.

driving home, taking the back roads, i can feel the temperature drop. it makes me feel melancholy, thinking of the other summers that have gone by; remembering the exact point when i realized that summer is closer to being finished than having begun. i can feel the days inching slowly but surely away from summer's buzzing heat.

with the window down, i can smell the scent of distant bonfire on the breeze. the leaves on roadside trees rustle as my little car passes, headlights illuminating the road ahead. they reflect the glint of a raccoon mama's trepidatious eyes, her babies waiting at the roadside. the half moon has risen high in the sky. there's the moisture in the air, condensed from the day's heat, chilling my skin.

summer dies and swells rise
the sun goes down in my eyes
see this rolling wave
darkly coming
to take me home
and i've never been so alone, and i've
never been so alive

- third eye blind, motorcycle drive by


one-two punch

so, some coworkers and i went out to dave & busters last night (think chuck e. cheese's but for grown-ups), where my boss and i went head to head in a virtual boxing match. it was one of those ones that have sensors so you physically have to dodge the punches from your opponent... otherwise you'll get "hit" (you know this cause the screen turns red and it says something stupid like DAMAGE!) i got knocked out in the third round by some heavyweight scraggly russian guy. it's surprising at how tough it turned out to be - my arms are still aching. guess i'm not mohammed ali reincarnated.

today: our office is moving to another building, and then we're having a baby shower/farewell party for my boss. busy day... except for the fact that it'll be the movers who are doing all of the work and we'll be .. having coffee and enjoying the party. tonight: going out for drinks with my sister and mike for a friend's birthday. this weekend: who knows. i need to rest my weary arms - this featherweight has a bit more training to do before she can last more than two and a half (thirty second) rounds. ha. i know that mike has a list of movies as long as his arm that he'd like to see, so we'll most likely end up doing that. apparently the new x-files movie is coming out this weekend, and there's the whole backlog of superhero movies that we're behind on. good times.

(photo courtesy of slack12)


just a few things

love her photos. just love. so inspiring, so melancholy. so haunting.
this idea is super cool... am thinking about ways that i can morph it for my own uses
am thinking about how i'd love to have this to relax in while i'm reading on my porch
can't stop watching this. new obsession.
can't stop reading this. awesome non-chick-lit poolside reading. highly recommended.



wedding vows and wine glasses
cake, dancing, toasts

1 tightly packed duffel bag
1 little white meatball car
1 gps named gertrude
18 bottles of water

4 reese's peanut butter cups
early-morning breakfasts, leisurely walks
2.5 u-turns
1 ferry crossing the ottawa river
15 hours in the car
8 rest stops
1 outhouse
1 bottle of overpriced hand sanitizer, purchased from a country store
1 visit to un pharmacie, en francais
4 movies

sunshiny days, a few raindrops and warm summer nights
1.5 days by the pool
1 awesome book
2 gondola rides up to the top of the mountain
1 breathtaking sunset
pictures, pictures and more pictures
a vacation to remember


tea with a saucer

woot! we've arrived in tremblant successfully after a few pit stops (tim hortons, gas, bathroom break, tim hortons, bathroom again, gas again, wal-mart for a $1.97 case of bottled water), and have had the chance to wander around the pedestrian village this evening to eat dinner at 'le diable' microbrewery, and scope out what we wanted to check out for tomorrow.

there's so many awesome things to do here! i'd really recommend it for everyone who wants a simple, affordable vacation. there's so many activities that we'll be doing (including hiking, canoeing, rollerblading, mini golfing, luge-ing & panoramic gondola riding.) - i can't wait to get started. when we leave here on thursday, i'd love to visit st joseph's oratory in montreal (where there's the preserved heart of brother andre) and then stop off in kingston, where apparently there's a set of the only remaining gallows in ontario... i'm not creepy - i just find things like this fascinating.

it's like quebec city's ste-anne-de-beaupre basilica; there's a bone fragment from the alleged forearm of the saint anne, who was jesus' grandmother, sent by the pope after his visit in the 70's. i'm not catholic (i was raised irish protestant, actually!) but i find the religious views of these bits and pieces of preserved people incredibly interesting, if not a bit morbid. it seems that we haven't come far from our ancestors after all!

after that, we'll be visiting my dad until saturday at which point will be getting back to toronto and taking sunday& monday for relaxation buffer time. tonight: i'm enjoying a restful evening with a cup of tea and my new comfy jogging pants. sweet.

for today, here's a pic of mike in front of one of the various fountains in the little courtyards in the village. so cute and quaint - i've never been to europe, but it reminds this me of quebec city and of what i'd imagine europe to look like.

{while we're here, mike's french has really been coming along well - somehow his grade four french skills have blossomed and he's coming out with phrases like "c'est dommage!" and "un p'tit peu". i'm helping him along, but i really think he's got more french in him than he lets on, anyhow.}


the good ol' days

it seems that lately my head's been filled entirely of to-do lists, to-do lists and more to-do lists. tomorrow, mike's sister is getting married and then shortly after that (two days after, to be exact!) mike and i are taking a vacation and going up to Quebec ski resort Mont Tremblant.

{there's no skiing this time of year.}

but there will be tons of other exciting & relaxing things to do... none of which will be including to-do lists. for the drive up there, however, i've been planning what snacks to bring, what comfy clothes to wear, where the best rest stops are, and of course, the inevitable soundtrack question... what music will we listen to?

i have an incredibly eclectic taste in music. what i listen to depends really on my mood. mike, on the other hand, listens to rock - more specifically, hair metal. we're both generally pretty laid-back about what we listen to and when (generally, we listen to mike's music in mike's car, and i get to choose when we're in mine).

did i mention that we're taking my car?

and so, with all of this thinking about road trips and soundtracks, i got to thinking about mixed tapes.

yes, i realize that tapes have gone the way of the dodo and if anything, people are probably making mixed cds. {do they even sell cassettes anymore?} regardless, it's a weird quirky thing with me that i just cant call it a mixed cd. i'd love to relate it to some sort of retro-purist personality trait, but somehow i just don't feel like i can make that sound believable. it's sort of like the people who get annoyed when you call an artist's album a 'record'. it's a recording, isn't it?
i digress.
looking through my music library, i realize that there's a good number of songs that have come from online sources, instead of having been ripped from cds. because of that, is nobody making mixed cds anymore?

i'm sure we'll start to miss those personalized works of art, where you spend all afternoon waiting for the perfect song to come on the radio, then go running across your bedroom - jumping like an olympic hurdler over your bed and desk chair - to get to your radio and hit 'record' (sometimes you'd catch the beginning of the song, and sometimes it would get a little cut off.. regardless, it's there. and it's the thought that counts right? after that, you decorate the crap out of the cover and, if you're anything like me, toss a few liner notes in for good measure, and then pass it on to your best friend/roomie/crush/sister/new friend to get them nicely acquainted with your taste and style.

(or then there's the post-cassette style of mixed tape technique, where you just choose the songs you'd like off of your computer and burn 'em to a cd - however, i think that the other method is much better for your cardiovascular health and agility.)

either way, mixed tapes were the way that i found most of the music that i've grown to love today. i miss them. someone should start up a mixed tape revolution. kind of like a chain letter, but with mixed tapes.

here's a sample of a few songs that will be accompanying me on my way to Quebec:

01) shut up and let me go - the ting tings (i know. i know. i'm a consumerist jerk for loving this song just because apple used it to advertised the ipod. whatever, it's still a happy song.)
02) motorcycle drive-by - third eye blind (seriously, i'm not a big fan of third eye blind in general but this song is such an incredible song.)
03) dogs - damien rice
04) coconut skins - damien rice
05) brown skin - india.arie
06) maddening shroud - frou frou
07) this boy - james morrison
08) hustle rose - metric
09) cowboy take me away - dixie chicks
10) those anarchist punks are mysterious - against me!
11) name - goo goo dolls
12) linger - the cranberries
13) dreams - the cranberries
14) transatlanticism - death cab for cutie
15) cause = time - broken social scene

given that mont tremblant is about a 6-hour drive from toronto, i'll need to make a few more albums. which means i need suggestions. i'd like to stumble across something new! so i'll throw it out to you... what were some tracks on your favourite mixed tapes?


life swap

sometimes i see people's lives and wish that, just for one day, i could take their place. just to see what it'd be like.

i came across this article about grad student jennifer strecker, who is completing her field placement doing work with refugees in camps in kenya for her master's program, and i couldn't help but think how incredible and life-changing an experience that would be. if i were to do something like that, i'd want it to have a more humanitarian side to it (as opposed to academic) however, it'd a spectacular opportunity & experience nonetheless.

similarly, my sister is looking to do some work abroad, but is most currently trying to decide what country & organization she'd like to go with. she'd been eyeing this program that (amongst other things) helps to prepare young adults in africa for university level study, which seems like a perfect match because she's a natural teacher and a giving, caring person to boot.

someday, i'll get myself up to that level. but for now, i'll have to start small... i've done some volunteer work while i was in high school but somehow it ended up falling by the wayside as i hit university (as financial need and that pesky GPA required constant maintenance), but i'd love to see it garner some more attention in my spare time. i miss it.

for more information on jennifer and updates to her travels, visit her blog


hello, my name is courtney...

i have a small obsession with organizing things. the container store makes me excited. my daily subscription to martha stewart's organizing tips is (one of) the email highlights of my day. i love the neat little ideas that her people come up with for gathering together scrap bits of paper and ribbon, organizing them on pegboard or creating a mini-office space in an old armoire. it's why i loved blueprint, and my favourite parts of real simple and domino are always the organize-y decor ones. there's just something so aesthetically pleasing about every section of see jane work , i could get lost there and spend a few hours wandering through the designer letter holders and all-white pencil set. (let's not get into the all-white obsession for now - that's an entirely different story for an entirely different day.)

in summary: let's just say that back-to-school sales have always made me a happy girl - even to this day - despite the fact that i'm no longer a student. there's just something about the promise of a new year, fresh start, new backpack and perfectly pointed pencils.

{does that make me ever-so-slightly more exciting than an accountant?}

the problem is, a lot of the time i know all of these cool knickknacks and tips for organizing, but somehow never actually get the chance to integrate them into my own life.

i'm trying to organize myself and my workspace... i've got two, depending on my mood and noise levels in my house. the first is my dining room table (above and below), which has been taken over by polymer clay, wire, beads, paint, and more. i'm in search of a more functional (and pretty) way to store my stuff... it's such a pain in the butt to have to rifle through my polymer clay storage "system" (see below)

uh, yeah right.

below is the workspace in my room, all scattered across my newly-acquired garage sale desk. (hell-o near-perfect condition ikea!) i'm working on new storage spaces + solutions, but wanted to post my 'before' pics because... hey, i'm nosey and like to see everyone else's 'before' pics, when it comes to organizing their workspaces. i figure that in the end, it's only fair to give people a sneak peek into my otherwise superbly organized world.
ha. almost got you there, didn't i?

anyhow, stay tuned. changes will be coming soon - and i can't wait!



bloggy break

whoa. hella busy week.
hella busy weekend.

am taking a blogging break so i can get my to-do list back in order, at which point i'll be back july 04 with some pictures and other great things.

happy belated canada day to all you canadians, happy early independance day to all you americans... happy wednesday to everyone else.

back soon. xo


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