friday favourites.

In a mere eight hours, I’ll be on a flight to London, England! Over the next 10 days, I’ll be travelling to both London and Copenhagen, which will be a wonderful break from work. I haven’t’ been to Europe since 2008 – my more recent trips have all been down south – so I am really looking forward to doing some sightseeing and checking out both cities. The days are going to be jam-packed and I’d have to say the thing I’m most excited to go see is the Harry Potter Studio Tour. In both cities, I plan to do a Sandemann’s walking tour which I have been told are one of the best ways to get the lay of the land. I’m going to do a few blog posts when I get back about the two cities I visited.

Some of my favourites from the week are below!

Favourite video:

The new music video for Drake’s song Hotline Bling took North America by storm this week. The video was released during the middle of the federal election and the Blue Jay’s third game of the playoffs. Social media platforms were exploding with all things Canada. The video has prompted hundreds of memes and parody videos – many of which are absolutely hysterical. Everyone I have talked to absolutely loves the original video which is hosted on Apple Music (or else I would have embedded it in this post – I couldn’t seem to find an embed code on Apple Music).

Favourite travel photo:

rome

I took this photo when I was last in Europe on a high school graduation trip. I then went on to study Classical Studies as my minor in university because I fell so in love with the history of Italy and Greece. Rome was by far my favourite part of that trip – there were so many amazing architectural and historical sites to see and the culture was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I definitely want to go back there one day.

Favourite Halloween costume:

halloween

I will be missing out on Halloween this year – I’ve come to learn that Halloween is much more of a North American event than a European one. I usually love dressing up for costume parties, which seem far and few between now that I’m getting older. Above is one of my favourite Halloween costumes – a Jack in the Box! I saw the idea on Pinterest one year, and figured it was a cute costume that wasn’t too labour intensive and was fairly cheap to make. I used a printer paper box, some construction paper, a head band and made the hat out of bristol board. The only negative to this costume was that it would get crushed by people in a crowded bar or party.

Have a fantastic weekend!

xx jamie.

Advertisements

run, Forrest, run.

Staying active has always been very important to me. Not only is exercise good for your body, but I truly believe it is key to your mental health and wellness. Anytime I’m in a bad mood, a workout (no matter how short) or going for a walk, always cheers me up. Working out also helps you to de-stress – something that so many of us need as our lives get more and more demanding.

Growing up, I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to explore many different types of physical activity. I tried my hand at softball, gymnastics, swimming, ice skating and other un-organized sports like waterskiing and snow skiing. I even had an unfortunate summer playing soccer, where I learned very quickly that soccer was a sport I did not excel at.

What really captured my interest was dance, and it is something that I have stuck with all my life. I take a few dance classes a month at a great studio in Toronto and teach younger kids a variety of dance styles at a studio in the east end of Toronto.

My sister, a kinesiology graduate, always reminds me that doing the same kind of exercise day in and day out will make your body plateau – she always suggests switching up your exercise routine family frequently to keep your muscles confused and working hard. So on top of dance, this year I decided I would sign up for a 5k run. Which run? The Holly Jolly Fun Run!

I have never been a big runner, but I was convinced to sign up by a friend who did the same run last year and had a blast. The run takes place the morning of the Toronto Santa Claus Parade and you get to run the parade route while people are lining the streets.

While 5k doesn’t seem like a long distance to some, to me, it’s terrifying – especially because there will be an audience watching me huff and puff along the streets of Toronto.

Below are some of my tips for future runners who may be interested in doing a 5k one day:

  • Check out exercise websites like Tone It Up or Popsugar – they have really great resources to help you train without getting hurt
  • Always stretch before and after you run – this really goes for any type of exercise, but I have fun that the morning after a run, my hamstrings are incredibly sore and tight. A hot bath and good stretch usually fixes the problem.
  • Invest in a good pair of running shoes – they are the only things separating your feet from hitting the pavement over and over again. While workout clothes have definitely become a fashion category of their own, a good pair of running shoes should be supportive and not necessarily trendy.
  • Drink lots of water! This one should go without saying
  • Finally – enjoy the scenery. Below is a sunrise picture I took in October after an early morning run.
#nofilter

#nofilter

xx jamie.

friday favourites.

The work week has finally come to an end! Although this work week was technically a short one (Monday was a statutory holiday in Ontario – yay!), it seemed longer and busier than normal. When I reflected back on what work I did this week – in my day-to-day job, my after work job, and the University of Toronto course I’m taking – I realized it felt jam-packed because I managed to squeeze five days’ worth of work into four days. To say I’m exhausted in an understatement.

But it’s Friday! And that means the weekend is upon us and it’s time to relax. I’m leaving in a week for a short trip to Europe (more about that in a future post)! So this weekend will be filled with trip planning, packing and running around to buy all the things I’ll need on my trip – like an adapter for my curling wand, because let’s be honest, I can’t go anywhere without the wand.

Below are a few of my favourites from the week.

Favourite laugh:

If you don’t already watch “Whine About It”, you are missing out. The videos feature Matt Bellassai – a BuzzFeed writer who is absolutely hilarious. These short videos are released every Wednesday, and feature Bellassai at his BuzzFeed desk, drinking a whole bottle of wine, and discussing current events and trending topics. The video about is the first season finale, but fear not, the new season starts October 28.

Favourite song:

By day, I am a communications professional for a utility in Toronto, by night I teach dance at a studio to a fantastic group of kids who make me laugh and forget about any sort of stress I have going on. I teach a number of competition routines, one of which I am super excited about this year. It’s a contemporary solo for one of my older students who is a phenomenal dancer and who can tell a beautiful story with her movements. This year, I chose Hunger of the Pine by alt-J as her piece of music – the song is powerful and moving. I’m so excited to see how her solo turns out.

Favourite view:

View from the sixth row. While the Blue Jays are dominating the Toronto sports scene today (and every day), my favourite Leafs are also playing tonight. I’ll be watching both games – three cheers for dual screen capabilities on TVs! Last year I was fortunate enough to go to a handful of Leafs game, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to watch a few in person this year.

Happy Friday,

xx jamie

a lesson in painting.

Being a twenty-something condo owner in downtown Toronto has its ups and downs. Toronto is amazing. Everything is steps from my front door, the people are generally kind and helpful, and I can’t remember the last time I was bored – there is always something going on. I can see the lake from my balcony, which sometimes makes me forget I’m even in Canada’s largest metropolis. But Toronto is also extremely expensive and home ownership comes with many (read: A LOT!) of costs – one time costs and repeating costs that never go away.

I bought a resale condo in a building that is about 10 years old. The building’s interior was in the process of being refreshed (new carpet, wall paper, paint, etc.) and my suite was bright, airy and had a stunning view. But I hated the paint. HATED it. Olive green and yellow were not my cup of tea when it came to paint colours.

I decided that I would roll up my sleeves, grab a brush, and paint the condo all by myself. “It will build character” my Dad said. Character – I should have seen the giant red flag and went running as soon as I heard him say this. Instead, I went to Canadian Tire, picked out a colour I actually liked, and bought a few gallons of paint.

Here are a few things I learned while spending a weekend painting:

  • Lesson one – paint is really heavy. Like really heavy. It took me multiple trips from my car, through the parking garage, up the elevator and finally into my condo, to carry the paint and painting supplies.
  • Lesson two – it will get everywhere. I don’t care what people say, I had drop sheets everywhere and I still got paint all over the place. Maybe that speaks to my inexperience with painting, but five months later and I am still scraping little paint flecks off the floor.
  • Lesson three – it’s really hard work. I painted alone (read more about this is lesson four), and it took me two full days and a lot of Advil. My back and arms were incredibly sore and there was a lot of climbing on furniture and stools to paint the bulk heads and hard to reach places (like around cupboards).
  • Lesson four – have someone help you. Timing was not on my side the weekend I decided to paint. My family was out of town and none of my friends were free. I should have waited for another weekend instead of going at it alone. It was lonely, and took me a really long time.

Final verdict? I will never ever paint again. The amount of effort and time that it took me (inclduing setting up, taping, cutting in, actually painting, doing a second coat, removing tape, touching up, cleaning and cleaning some more) it was not worth it. But hey, it was character building right?

Below are some ‘during’ and ‘after’ photos.

xx jamie.

'during' - yellow & green walls (ew) with some of the light blue on the yellow wall.

‘during’ – yellow & green walls (ew) with some of the light blue on the yellow wall.

'after' - this was only after the first coat.

‘after’ – this was only after the first coat.

thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is less of a ‘holiday’, and more of a ‘time of year’ for me (although I do love having the day off work). It’s a time to see family, reconnect with friends, and a reminder to enjoy the little moments that otherwise get brushed under the rug. I love that Thanksgiving isn’t as commercialized as other national holidays – there are no presents, no pressure and no high expectations.

Historically, Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates the annual harvest and the good things that happened over the past year. While I’m not a farmer, I am thankful for the plentiful amounts of fresh food that is grown right here in Ontario. One of my favourite Thanksgiving activities is going to Farmer’s Markets – whether it be my staple St. Lawrence Market, or markets farther away like St. Jacobs. There is something satisfying about buying your food right from the farmer who grew it – and there is always great flowers at these markets.

IMG_5170

A lovely reminder to be thankful everyday – taken on Queen St. W.

Below are a few (of the many) things I am thankful for this year.

IMG_4960

Friends.

As you get older, making and keeping friends gets harder. The distances grow larger, lives get busier and priorities changes. I always try to prioritize making time for my friends – regardless of how busy other aspects of my life get. Knowing a solid support group is only a phone call or a text away is priceless.

Winston

Winston

This cat.

Right now, I am fostering this little bub. He was abandon outside of an animal services building in Toronto. Since moving downtown alone, I had been wanting to get a pet, but I had never had a cat before and felt my condo was too small for a puppy. So, I decided to foster a kitten through Toronto Cat Rescue. He has brought a lot of smiles to my day – I will be sad to see him eventually leave, but I know he will make a family really happy.

IMG_5179

The Jays.

I love sports. While baseball isn’t my favourite sport (I am a Leafs girl through and through), having a Toronto team finally make the playoffs for something has been amazing. This team has united Toronto in a way that I haven’t seen in a long time.

What are you thankful for this year?

xx jamie.

friday favourites.

Friday. Fri-YAY. End of the work week, beginning of the weekend. Friday is definitely my favourite day of the week.

Unfortunately, this Friday hasn’t been the greatest. Our beloved Toronto Blue Jays lost their second playoff game, and as I write this, the Toronto Maple Leafs (my favourite sports team) are losing 2-0 to the Red Wings. It’s been a sad day for Toronto sports and has left me wondering if Taylor Swift really did curse the Jays.

I’ve decided that it might be nice to do a bit of a weekly roundup on Fridays of things I’ve enjoyed this week for this blog. So without further ado, here are a handful of things that made me smile this week.

Favourite food:

IMG_4211

This artichoke and spinach dip topped my list this week. I love cheese, and this dish had plenty of it. Eating out and trying new restaurants is definitely one of my favourite things to do in the city, and is probably my favourite way to catch up with friends. Nothing beats a nice glass of wine, a yummy meal, and a few hours spent with friends.

Favourite book:

the good girl – mary kubica. click the photo to go the book’s website.

I am about halfway through this book and I CAN’T put it down. It was recommended to me after expressed my love for Gone Girl (and all of Gillian Flynn’s books for that matter) to a friend. She recommended I check out The Good Girl and I am incredibly happy she did. Without wanting to give too much away, the book is a thriller and bounces back and forth in time (before and after a kidnapping takes place). Stay tuned for a short book review on the blog after I finish the novel.

Favourite quote:

IMG_4978

I saw this sign outside of a small shop in Kensington Market and couldn’t help but take a picture. Not only is the calligraphy beautiful (and so Pinterest-worthy), but the quote itself is a lovely daily reminder. Don’t stress, take a breath, and remember that life is an adventure and you’re living just one page at a time.

Happy Friday,

xx jamie

an introduction.

Hey there!

Welcome to my little blog project that has stemmed out of taking a digital education class through the University of Toronto (and just when I thought I was done with school…clearly I am a forever learner).

I’m a twenty-something living in the centre of the universe – Toronto (or the 6ix as my favourite Twitter sensation Norm likes to call it). Everyday is an adventure and I hope to share some of my stories and lessons learned here with you.

When I’m not at work, I can be found reading, enjoying good food and wine, teaching dance, shopping or working out. You can learn more about me on the About page.

xx jamie anne.