Category Archives: Pictures

An Adventurous Weekend

Standard

Today I am guest posting over on Stephany’s blog Stephany Writes about vacation must-reads. I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what books you would recommend to someone leaving on a trip? Steph is currently on a cruise. You should all be jealous.

—–

So I ended up taking a relatively spontaneous long weekend off from blogging. Often by the time Friday rolls around, I’m already beginning to draft up posts for next week. But as of right now, I have NOTHING. I think every once in a while it’s nice to just take some time to LIVE and everything else will catch up eventually.

I had one of the best weekends that I’ve had in a long time. I had a spontaneous 4 days off from work, and although I already had a little road trip to Vermont planned with two work friends, I ended up packing my entire weekend with plans. Since today I’ll be heading back to work (in just a few hours, sigh!) I thought I’d share some photos from the last few days before truly getting back to reality.

Thursday– I don’t have any photos, but I had a really lovely day anyway! I spent the afternoon at a L’Oreal sale with one of my best friends where I spent FAR TOO MUCH MONEY on makeup and hair products, followed by a really nice dinner and an Italian restaurant with some friends. Another one of my good friends is leaving for Florida tomorrow so we all wanted to get together for a little goodbye dinner kind of thing.

Friday– I got ready and met my two work friends (well, ex-work friends. I mean we’re still friends, we just don’t work together anymore!) and we drove over the border to Burlington for the night. We bought tickets to see FEIST in concert months & months ago, and had planned to stay overnight to do some shopping the next morning before heading home.

Sitting & waiting for Feist to start! Not our best picture, but the only one we got together

The lovely & extremely talented Feist! She put on a great show. Can’t wait to see her again in August!

The service at our hotel was amazing, but the place itself was SO sketchy. These tips were nailed crookedly to the back of our door…

Walking the gorgeous streets of Burlington on Saturday morning. We walked through a Farmer’s Market before heading into the mall for some serious shopping!

Although Vermont is only a couple hours from home, it still feels like an entirely different world. I always love going to the States for little trips because I get to eat and shop at places that don’t exist just a couple hours North here in Montreal. Although I do go a little crazy turning my cell phone off most of the time, I actually enjoyed it SOSO much this weekend. I happily turned it on to Airplane Mode as soon as crossed the border, and just spent the entire day enjoying a lovely city without worrying about who was trying to get in contact with me. It was VERY nice. ‘

We had a quick lunch at Panera (my first time there!) before heading the 2 and a half hours back home. I was VERY excited about trying this place out because I’ve heard so many good things about it, and it did NOT disappoint! My food was the bomb.

On Saturday night, we had a big girls’ night with a bunch of the ladies from work. I wasn’t able to stay for very long because I had to be up early on Sunday, but I was there long enough to take some yummy jello shots, HOLD A SNAKE (my friend’s pet!) and spend some time in the hot tub.

A few of us girls around the kitchen table!

Me being terrified while trying to hold Timmy the snake! I actually can’t believe I was convinced into doing this, ha 🙂

Sunday– Mother’s Day was another non-stop day for me. I woke up bright and early for a brunch with my family, followed by a baptism & finally the most delicious meal EVER as an after party for the baptism. I was out basically from 10am until 7pm and by the time I got home I was completely exhausted.

I had SUCH a lovely day and spent tons of time with my nephew who I hadn’t seen in almost two weeks. It felt like way longer- every time I see him he changes and does fun new things. Plus I think he gets cuter every time too. Seriously.

Me and my super giggly nephew at brunch. I freaking love this little munchkin! ❤

My brother and I with my nephew at brunch 🙂

Happy Mother’s day! I’m extremely lucky to be able to call this woman my mom 🙂 ❤

Hanging out with daddy during the baptism. His eyes just melt my heart!

It was my sister-in-law’s first Mother’s Day! Baby loves his mama 🙂

Goodness, it takes a long time to write about 4 days of awesome. I love weekends like this, and I hope there are many more to write about this summer. So far, May has been such a good month to me.  I’ve been working so hard at making the best out of all the little moments I have- with family, friends, and just the time I spend on my own. This weekend was, if anything, the exact kind of thing that reminds me why I’m so lucky to be surrounded with the family and friends that I have in my life. 

Did you do anything special this weekend? 

Advertisements

Inspiration from around the world

Standard

Last week I wrote a post called “If you don’t succeed, try & try again” because I was feeling kind of hopeless about figuring out what I’m supposed to be doing in my life. The great thing about blogging stories about my successes and my failures is that I am always sincerely amazed at the responses I get. I say this all the time, but I do try more than anything to write for ME; I am just so grateful when YOU take the time to write a comment of understanding.

Because in the end, we’re all endlessly looking for the THING we are meant to do. 

As much as I am happy with my life right now, I am always yearning for something more. On the day that I wrote that post, I had worried myself into believing that wanting more meant I was unhappy. I was reminded thirteen times that wasn’t the case.

I love all the comments I receive. I really do. But sometimes, I’ll receive a particular one that really sticks with me. I often try to reply to comments on my blog, but every once in a while I like to send out e-mail responses. It’s more than just letting new readers know that I love having them around; I love sending out those e-mails because it means making a longer lasting connection with someone who took the time to reach out to me when I was doubting myself.

Today, I want to share a comment that I received on that post that turned into a series of e-mails and, I think, a new (long distance) friendship.

—–

Here’s the comment: 

Hey Melissa,

I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and even if it’s not that much and that we only read and learn about what you agree to share with us, I can tell this one thing, you’re worth it. Otherwise, why would people come and visit your page again and again? I can tell I’m inspired by your life goals, the life lessons you sometimes talk about here and I also can feel how passionate about some topics you are.

I don’t blame you for doubting, I’m a 23 years old girl dreading the same things as you do, sharing the same dreams and obsessions as you do (Harry Potter forever^^). I’ll just tell you this, you go girl, the world is waiting for you.

(Sorry if there are any English mistakes… I’m French)

Yep, even in Paris you’re famous ;)

—–

Here is part of the e-mail I sent her soon after receiving the above comment: 

I don’t always send out e-mails to people who comment on my posts, but I just HAD to after reading yours today. I had literally just had (another) bad morning even though I was trying so hard to have a really great day, and I was really beginning to get frustrated with the whole world. And literally as soon as I’m about to call it a day and just give up until tomorrow, I get your comment. I’m not even sure I can explain to you how much I smiled! I’m so glad you’ve been reading and following along on my blog, especially all the way from Paris- how cool!! 

I’ve always said that I write just for myself, but sometimes I get comments like yours that just make it all worthwhile on the days that feel extra crappy. So I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail to say THANK YOU for totally making me smile today! I really needed it 🙂
—–

I wasn’t even expecting a reply back to my e-mail. I just wanted to let her know that I sincerely appreciated her taking a second to leave me a comment. Instead, I received a response detailing the reasons she loves reading my blog.

And to top it all off? In her own words, “a photo of Paris taken two days ago, to give you a little inspiration back“.
—–

I love the photo. It’s a picture that one of her friends spontaneously captured. It’s no secret around here that I love to travel and I love seeing pieces of the world. There is no way that I would keep such a pretty picture all to myself; I want to share her friend’s image in the hopes of sending everyone else a little inspiration from another part of the world.

You can check out Alice’s gorgeous work on her website Alice’s Wonderland, too!

It may have only been a couple e-mails and a photo from across the ocean, but Iwas definitely re-inspired, not to mention reminded that the world isn’t as terrible and hopeless as it sometimes seems. There’s a reason I’m always dreaming of bigger and better things!

Have you ever received a comment, e-mail or even a photo from someone that inspired you or made you smile?

The Art of Scrapbooking

Standard

It seems like I’m rarely writing about all the goals I have to complete this year, and yet my 101 in 1,001 and 23 Before 23 are patiently waiting to have numbers crossed off. Today’s post is about #13 on the 23 Before 23 and #17 on the 101 in 1,001! 2 in 1, woo hoo!

While I was in Greece in August (yes, I am bringing up this vacation again!) I had the idea that I wanted to teach myself to scrapbook. I realize *teach* is a bit of a strong word, but I am seriously crafty-handicapped. I’ve never been great at it, but the idea of having a place where I could store photos & memorabilia that I collected along the way sounded enchanting.

The week I got home, I was at the craft store buying supplies. I found my scrapbook and a bunch of cute things to put in it all on the same day- we’re talking like early September. And then I proceeded to basically completely forget about my project. Well actually, that’s not really true. I needed to get my pictures printed, and with almost 1,500 photos to sort through I needed to find the time to do it. This is what I ended up printing:

Yes, that is two BOXES full. Pretty sure I printed about 500 photos! 

Finally, about two weeks ago, I decided to sit myself down and try to start my scrapbook. It’s been about 6 months that I’m home & I was already home from ANOTHER vacation after that one so I wasn’t really in the mood to do it… But you guys? I ended up LOVING it. I’d like to think my scrapbook turned out relatively well- it’s not done yet, I still have 4 pages to complete, but other than that? I sat down over the course of one weekend and I was un-stoppable!

I’m so proud of my new-found craftiness, I really wanted to share my handiwork. So without further ado, the scrapbook of a non-crafty person (not so bad, right?!)

… Sorry about the image quality, my iPhone wasn’t quite up to the task, it seems! 

I tried as much as possible not to ruin the beauty of the photos by cutting out too much of the view in the background, because that is such a big part of Greece. I think I did a decent job of preserving the beauty in the photos, and the ones that I didn’t was simply because I wanted the picture in there for fun. I added in a few little fun things I collected on the different islands I visited, which I thought gave it a sweet personal touch.

All in all, I’m really happy I gave scrapbooking a shot & I can’t wait to finish it up once I’m out of finals! It was such a lovely way to bring back tons of happy memories and become nostalgic once again for a time in my life that I absolutely adored. I still have a MILLION pictures leftover and I can’t wait to organize them and set them up in a photo album to look at any time I want to visit the vacation of my dreams!

Have you ever taken on a hobby that you didn’t think you’d enjoy? What kind of crafty things do you like to do?

Love is in the air!

Standard

I think I’m one of the few single girls I know who doesn’t hate Valentine’s Day. On the contrary, I think it’s a really sweet (although a little bit too commercialized) holiday that anyone can enjoy. Here’s what I’m loving:

 
Friends- All of them, but I love that I celebrate all the fun/silly holidays with these girls 🙂

 

 
Family- sticking together through thick & thin and basically all being awesome 🙂

 
My animals, even during their weird-nutso moments I still love them! And their cuddles 🙂

 

 
Once in a lifetime experiences that I am so fortunate to have several times a year. I LOVE to travel
and I can’t wait to see where else I go!

Other things I love and hope to enjoy today? Reading, relaxing, extra sleep and yummy food! 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day! What are you loving on this holiday?

Currently… [& A Self Portrait Challenge]

Standard

I’ve done the “currently” post a couple times before, but today it’s going to be a little bit different! I’m linking up with The Paper Mama for her Self Photo Challenge, and you can too 🙂

The idea behind this post before anything, is to feature a self-portrait and *take a stand* if you will against those negative comments that sometimes pop up on our blogs or other various social media outlets. I find it completely ridiculous that people spend their time leaving rude comments on peoples’ photos, and I love this challenge because it allows bloggers to put in their two cents on the subject.

I’ve been lucky enough to never get a really awful comment before, but it still really upsets me when I hear of other people who do. The internet *is* a free space, but that doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to be cruel towards others because of it. Plus, I am still a twenty-something girl learning how to be confident in myself. I know it’s just the internet, but I imagine my feelings would be hurt, even if I tried really hard not to let them be.

My self portrait:

Currently…

Obsessing over: Vegetarian meals, getting into shape, my Kindle, planning for vacations, writing, Sex and the City re-runs

Working on: Well I’m *trying* to work on studying for my upcoming midterms! I have so much reading to do, but I have yet to get started. Right after I finish this, I swear!

Thinking about: What a great big procrastinator I am, also how I need to finish my application for Stratejoy so that I have time to review it, review it again, and review it one last time!

Anticipating: My trip to Florida- I leave in like 10 DAYS!

Listening to: Turn Me On by David Guetta (featuring Nicki Minaj)… This song is crazy addictive!

Eating: Strangely, nothing… Although I’m getting really hungry & craving some comfort food and an episode of Sex and the City. I know SATC has nothing to do with eating, I just really wanted to share.

Wishing: That I had just a little bit more money to get by and finish paying my bills! That’s enough debt, already. It’s just an extra stress in my life that I really wish I didn’t have to deal with.

What are you up to today? What’s your take on the negative-comments situation? Did you link up with Paper Mama? I wanna see! 

First weekend of 2012

Standard

Weekends in my life are often filled with more work or homework than anything else, so when I manage to mix it up a little, I’m so so happy. This was one of those weekends, and it looked something like this:

Thursday: After work I met up with my friend Melanie for a lovely evening of shopping, dinner, and relaxing at my place. She got me into the show Big Love WAY BACK when it first started, and we had promised each other we’d watch the SERIES finale together at the beginning of the summer. We never made the time for it, but she came over after shopping, I made us some hot chocolate and we finally finished watching the show together.

Me shopping for wine glasses (I was thinking of getting that big bowl as a wine glass, what do you think?!), some shared Thai food for dinner, and Mel hopelessly trying to park her parents’ van close to the curb at my house. Ha! 

Friday: I had the entire day off (yay!) and slept until almost 11am which felt AMAZING. At around one in the afternoon my brother came over to pick me up & we ended up spending almost the entire day together. This has only happened a few times in the last couple years, and I completely forgot to take lots of pictures! Besides pictures of my nephew because seriously he’s the cutest.

Healthy lunch courtesy of my sister-in-law! 

Playing on his Baby Einstein piano! 

Saturday: Although I worked all morning, I got to finish an hour early (hurray!) so that I could come home and finish wrapping presents for my belated Christmas party.

I celebrate every single holiday with my girls, and although we didn’t have time actually DURING Christmas-time, we made a point to get together this weekend. We spent the night taking pictures of ourselves in our ugly Christmas sweaters, eating a TON of food, playing some games, and of course opening PRESENTS 🙂

The six of us in front of the Christmas tree! I’m 2nd from the right, sporting a lovely train/Christmas tree button up sweater! 

Sunday: Basically spent the whole day relaxing, catching up on TV, organizing some things in my room and all around being superbly lazy. It was fantastic! 🙂 After dinner I headed over to my neighbors’ house and watched her 6 year old son, D, for a couple hours. He entertained me with about 5 different games in 2 hours, and then we read some books before I put him to sleep! Ended my night with some much needed reading time and, of course, one last mug of tea (gingerbread spice! So good!)

I drank tea nonstop all day, my friends got me 10 different kinds on Saturday night! Yummmyyy. 🙂

Making snow cones with the Snoopy Sno Cone machine! 

How was your weekend? What did you get up to?

Christmas Wrap-Up

Standard

I can’t believe Christmas is already over! This time of the year always just flies by, but it amazes me every time I go to sleep on the 25th. Luckily I get to enjoy a little extra holiday time on January 1st, because that’s the day that my mom hosts a huge family brunch at my house. I also have quite a few holiday parties coming up in the next two weeks, so I can still enjoy the holidays a little longer- but the crazy work days are slowly coming to an end, and life is going to be getting back to normal before I know it.

I had a really lovely weekend with family. I always have the best time when I see them (which is pretty often), but there’s always some added awesomeness when Christmas trees, extra yummy food, and presents are involved! Also when we have excuses to make my nephew look cuter than normal:

On Christmas Eve, I worked until 4:30 (the longest shift of my life) and then hurried home to get ready for my first family dinner. I headed over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house who were hosting for the evening. It was my family as well as my SIL’s best friend (and her 10 year old son and mom), so overall not a huge event, but lots of fun anyway. We spent the night talking, relaxing, EATING, and we opened a few gifts.

My nephew’s first stocking! Also included: the blue Santa hat he’s wearing in the first photo.

So much delicious food! My SIL is a seriously good cook.

He doesn’t look super happy in this picture, but I needed a shot with him in his cute little suit!

We stayed at my brother’s house until around 2am. Earlier in the night I got to babysit my nephew and I put him to sleep- he slept for SEVEN HOURS- and then we just hung out as families do. All around really lovely evening that is lacking pictures because I basically forgot to take them. I was too busy relaxing 🙂

I got to bed pretty late that night and I was up before 9am on the 25th- I have NO idea why. We decided to only do our gift exchange after dinner on Christmas day, so I literally had all day to just relax. My mom and I ended up doing our gift exchange together in the morning, and my mom spoiled me with lots of awesome clothes. Now I just need a place to go!

 8:30am on Christmas day in one of my new outfits!

I spent the rest of the day relaxing, catching up on Top Chef, cleaning up a little bit, and all around enjoying my first day off in a LONG time. I had to finish wrapping my presents for that night as well, and actually had lots of fun doing it! Around 6:45pm, my brother and SIL came over and opened a gift that my mom got for them- a huge playpen for my nephew! She didn’t want to bring it all the way to my SIL’s parents house, so they got their big gift here. Afterwards we all headed out for more yummy food and lots of present-opening.

I wear my Santa hat each year because I give the gifts out during our exchange 🙂

This time it was just the close family- there was only 6 of us- so we enjoyed lots of quality time together, laughing, playing with my nephew, and obviously eating.

Gifts under the tree! Or basically gifts in the living room… We may have spoiled the baby this year.

Playing games with his daddy! (AKA trying to tire him out so he would go to sleep- it was 10pm!)

We un-wrapped presents until around midnight, and everyone (ESPECIALLY my nephew) got super spoiled. My family made sure I got some spending money for my trip to Orlando in February as well as some gift cards to go shopping before I leave. We also all got a gift card from my SIL’s mom to go eat out together at a super fancy restaurant, so I’m definitely looking forward to that! My brother gave out a bunch of souvenirs from his trip to Brazil- he bought a bunch of stuff from underprivileged children who create things with the few materials that they can find- so we all really loved those gifts a lot.

Finally, on December 26th, I got to sleep in! It’s been too long. I woke up just past 11 and got ready to spend the afternoon with two of my best girls. We went over to my friend Kate’s apartment and she made us a super delicious brunch, and then we just talked for like 3 hours. We were GOING to watch a movie, but of course, we got carried away in our chit-chatting. We clearly need to hang out more often!

How were your holidays? Did you get spoiled? Spent lots of quality time with family?