Category Archives: Summer Time!

A new countdown begins!

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It’s no secret that I’ve caught the traveling bug, and I think after going to Europe last summer for the very first time it got even worse. I vaguely remember coming home after 3 weeks in Greece with 3 of my best friends and feeling like my ACTUAL home would never be the same to me again. I was wrong, of course, but when that travel high went away I realized that what I REALLY wanted was simply to have the opportunity to travel MORE. Instead of spending all my money on ALL THE THINGS that didn’t matter, I wanted to save & see the world.

Coming home from Greece last year I remember feeling one thing for certain. I LOVED Europe & I wanted to go back and see many more of the countries there. However as a student, that trip was extremely expensive for me. I told myself that  I would go back when I was no longer a student struggling my way through expenses.

Turns out, I just can’ t stay away from Europe.

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or if we’re friends on Facebook you may have already seen my news but… I’m going back to Europe for almost THREE weeks in August! I’ll be spending 19 days with my best friend traveling through Italy, France, and parts of England. Things may change a little bit here and there (we’re still figuring out our itinerary) but basically that is what we have planned.

I’m SO excited. We’ve been talking about this trip for weeks now, but as of Saturday our flight to Rome (and leaving Paris) is BOOKED!

I’m so nervous, to be honest. I love talking about traveling the world but I think this trip will be my scariest yet. I have to find a backpack. I’m going to be traveling into different COUNTRIES. Just the two of us. Probably staying in hostels with strangers. I’m nervous because I’m going back to a country I LOVE and I have all these memories from my last trip. I know that traveling has been SO good for me. I’ve ultimately changed as a person for it. It makes me nervous to see who I’ll be when I get home on August 26th after three weeks of living from a backpack. Last summer I had so much trouble re-adjusting to being home and I just don’t want to go through that again.

But most of all? I’m excited. I’m SO excited. I’m going back to Europe.

I’m visiting places like this:

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Europe 2012. Let the planning begin! 

If you have any suggestions, recommendations or tips for any parts of France, Italy or England… I’d love to hear them 🙂 

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An Adventurous Weekend

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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.

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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? 

Summer & Being Happy

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Since finishing school (and getting grades back, I’m officially FREE!) I’m trying to live more in the moment. Right now. I’m teaching myself that everything I do should make me happy, rather than stressed or guilty or worse, bored.

So far, this has been working fantastically. The best part is that I haven’t even had to remind myself that this is the goal; I’m just living it. I’ll stop every once in a while and realize that I am doing something that makes me happy and stress free, and that makes me even MORE happy. I want to keep track of all these happy summer days so that I can look back on them, and today was definitely one of them (and by today, I mean yesterday, because this post was written & scheduled ahead of time of course!)

The last 3 or 4 days have been BEAUTIFUL here in Montreal. I mean, warm enough to sit outside and get some sun. Summer isn’t far now, and it’s really starting to show. Before writing this post, I decided that I wanted to do one of my absolute favorite things- lay out in the sun with some good music, a book, and just relax. I haven’t been able to do that since last summer, and honestly it was just the loveliest thing. My reading always picks up around this time of year simply because I am SO HAPPY to sit outside with a couple hours to kill, guilt-free. I put on the radio on my iPhone, brought out ‘Truth About Forever’ by Sarah Dessen, and just enjoyed some of the beautiful temperatures before heading off to work.

In an effort to remind myself of everything I love about this time of the year, I wanted to write a little bit about the simple things that I just love about this time of year, and that I was reminded of today while I was outside.

– When it gets too hot in the sun, I love cutting up a fruit and eating it in the shade, just before heading back out for a little while longer.

– While the sun is hot & I’m reading, I love when a really great song comes on & I have to put my book down for three minutes, close my eyes and just enjoy the music. Especially those really great songs that remind me of summer time! 

– Going to sleep knowing that I have the next day off and it’s going to be gorgeous outside. I love deciding that I’m taking a ‘me’ day with the sun to just relax, or making plans to do something fun in the nice weather.

– When I get scheduled a little bit later in the day, like today, and I can enjoy a couple really great hours in the day before heading to work! 

Maybe it’s because the weather here is only this gorgeous for a few months out of the year, but I have this extreme appreciation for summer, and it only grows every single year. I mean, of course there are those suffocatingly hot days when I’d prefer working in the air conditioning than being anywhere near the sun, and I curse my mother for being a non-believer in air conditioning for our home. But overall? It’s kind of like the sun reminds me just how happy I am to live in this city, especially at this time of the year.

I really just love the endless possibilities that comes with this season. Don’t you?

Oh, Summer!

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There is something about summer being just around the corner that gives me a little spring in my step. Despite the chilly, rainy temperatures these last couple weeks, I’m still so excited about the next four months.

I think it’s the freedom that summer brings. It’s this extra little bonus to my favorite season of the year. I love knowing that the next 120 days are all mine to do what I please. It feels like this stretch of time where anything is possible. It reminds me of being a kid, when the last bell of the year would ring, and I knew I had all these beautiful days to play outside with friends.

This summer, I want to focus on me. I wrote last week about the Ups & Downs of life and how I want to learn to appreciate the moment, and that’s just what I want out of this beautiful upcoming season. Without homework or studying to worry about for the first time in a LONG time, I feel like there is the possibility to do so many great things.

Last summer, I did too much anticipating, rather than living. Looking back, I feel like all I did was try and get through every day until I left for Greece. It was the trip of a lifetime, but I wish there were more memorable moments in the other months to look back on, too. This year, I want to fully enjoy each month, instead of waiting for what’s next.

As of this month, I want to start doing more things for ME, feel less guilty about it, and just overall enjoy the gorgeous weather whenever it gets here.

I want to go to lots of concerts, work to save money, focus on my blog & making my writing the best it can be, and maybe even doing some writing on the side for that book I’ve always wanted to write. I want to read more, finish my scrapbook, spend time in the mornings responding to all the lovely mail I’ve been receiving from bloggers around the world, and most of all never let any of these fun things feel like a chore.

So here is to a summer of taking a step back, enjoying all the beautiful things in life, and hopefully going on an adventure in a new part of the world.

What are the things you enjoy most out of life? Any big summer plans?

Summer in March!

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Every time a new season starts to show itself around here, I get REALLY excited. *Even* when it’s winter, I get anxious for the first snowfall, hot chocolates and the holidays.

But there is really no time I love more than summer. As soon as the sun starts to come out and melt all the snow, I get so incredibly giddy. No more winter coats and boring nights spent in while the cold rages on outside.

As I write this, the temperature in Montreal is steadily climbing into the high 20 degrees (that’s in the 70’s fahrenheit, I believe!) and I am SO excited. I know, deep down, this all means that global warming is winning the war, but for today? I just want to enjoy a little bit of sunshine. It reminds me of this EXACT time one month ago when I was stepping foot in Universal Orlando for the first time, the sun shining down on me there too at this exact same temperature.

I always seem to find my motivation in the summer weather, and although I *know* it won’t last much longer, I know spring is here and, not to make a pun here, but that totally puts a new spring in my step! Temps will be dipping next week which kind of sucks, but the snow is just about all gone- I could literally lay a towel out this afternoon and catch a few rays with a book. I mean, if I had time for things like that.

This summer I don’t have any big plans. Last year around this time I was booking a trip to Greece. My whole summer revolved around getting ready to be there for almost a month. This year I don’t have any big things to look forward to, so I’m focusing on making all the little things happen. A trip to New Jersey for Bamboozle, a visit to New York City (maybe!), Montreal’s Osheaga Festival (which has a fantastic line-up this year, hurray!) and many other concerts, outdoor festivals, and random summery events. I can’t wait! I miss traveling and I’m still secretly hoping to do some of it in the next few months, but if that doesn’t work out I’m going to make sure I’m enjoying the lovely weather and making the best of it here at home.

And now? Time to go enjoy some sun while I do homework! Not an ideal situation, but anything that involves this kind of weather is good with me!

What are you up to today? What are your favorite parts of summer? Any fun things planned for the summer months?

July: The Review

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I had set up July to be a very big month for myself, and I’m only partially satisfied with how things turned out. Here’s a review on the goals I wanted to achieve, and how well I did.

1) Get back to eating healthy, track my weight & start exercising again.

I definitely started eating healthy again and tracking my food. I also started exercising when I joined a fitness gym. I wish I would have done MORE because I don’t really see any big results, but I’m still trying and I had to start somewhere right? The one thing I do notice is a huge improvement in my overall endurance when I work out and that was a big accomplishment for me since I’m not a very fit person in general.

Is there anything better than perfectly ripe mango? I don’t think so! This was my fruit of the month, for sure.

2) Try and donate blood again

It took me long enough, but I ACCOMPLISHED THIS ONE. Hallelujah!

3) Read 8 books/Cross off two reading goals.

I was totally off my reading this month. I wanted to read 8 and I think I read 3. I was SO stressed out with all the things I needed to do before I leave (next week!) for the month of August, that any time I picked up a book my mind immediately started racing back to all the things I needed to do. I read three and picked up 2 more, but I only got half way through both. I just couldn’t get into a book. That’s the least amount I’ve read in a month since last SEPTEMBER. Crazy.

4) Renew my learner’s permit.

Why do I always conveniently forget about this one?

5) Complete 5 more goals from my 101 Goals list to be at 50 total accomplished.

These are the ones I had originally wanted to complete, and I crossed off the ones I actually did.

a) Read for an hour every day for 2 weeks

– I accomplished this one in the first two weeks of July when I was still reading a lot (before my really weird reading break). I love reading and I’m sure I’ve accomplished this one many times over in the last 7 months or so, and I’d like to continue to read at least this much, even when I’m in school.

b) Re-read 5 novels I loved when I was younger 

– I re-read the entire Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (4 books) throughout June and in July I read The Giver, a favorite from at least 10 years ago. I still loved all the books as much as when I was young, but I have to admit I remembered The Giver as a much more elaborate book than what it was- maybe I’ve just moved on to tougher reading with age?

c) Spend an evening away from my laptop once a week for 2 months (I’m halfway there, at the end of July I’ll be done!)

– This was SUCH a fun goal to complete. It really gave me the chance to take a step away from the internet and just read or spend some time doing a chore that I was putting off because I was too distracted on Twitter or Facebook. I would love to continue to do this when I get home from Greece!

d) Read  3 novels on Well Being (2/3 complete) [I would have gotten to this one had I not completely stopped reading…]
e) Go one month without junk food. [Fail! Although I’ve been eating SO much better than ever before, I still need my cheats. Not sure I’ll ever be able to fully complete this one. ]

As well as:

f) Give blood
g) Stop biting my nails (if I make it through the month I’ll cross this one off)
–> As a side note on biting my nails, I gave in almost a week into July, but I stopped again last week… So I can’t cross it off, but it wasn’t a total waste!

h) Spend a day with my phone turned off

– I’m crossing this one off because I shut it off for a good 4-6 hours in the afternoon one day… I only turned it on to check my work schedule on my calendar and I ended up having a bunch of missed (important) texts and voice mails, so I decided to turn it back on. Apparently one day away from technology is one day too much!

I also crossed off #48 on my 101 List which I had practically given up on: Join a gym. I call that a small little success! I really had no imagined crossing that one off at this point.

Yoga & Health Studio. I’m going to miss this place when my 1 month membership expires! 

This month was definitely a BUSY month for me. My goals were always at the back of my mind, but above anything I’ve been preparing myself non-stop for Greece. From scheduling posts, to celebrating my birthday, to going to concerts, to writing up my interviews from Warped Tour, July was non stop. I hardly had ANY time to just sit outside and read- my favorite summer activity.

Hanging out under a tree at Warped Tour, July 16th- SO HOT outside, but one of the funnest experiences ever!

If anything, all this hectic-ness has made me even more excited to spend countless hours on the beach for the rest of the month. Can you believe it? In exactly ONE WEEK I’ll be in Athens, Greece. Unbelievable.

How was your month? Fun, busy, filled with summer fun? I hope so! 

Backstage at Warped 2011

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Every time I’ve been to Vans Warped tour (In 2008, and in 2010) I’ve had the most amazing time. There are always bands that I can’t wait to see, and the fact that there are something like 75 bands on any given day, there is music playing for 10 straight hours. Thousands of people make their way to Warped every year and it’s always on a really hot, humid July day. Warped Tour in Montreal more often than not marks the halfway mark of summer, it’s something to look forward to from March straight through til July when it gets here. When I get home at night, I’m usually dirty, hot, EXHAUSTED but on a complete adrenaline high.

Last year Warped landed on my birthday and I spent my whole day there with best friends, followed by a night with some friends backstage watching the fireworks late at night. In 2008 it was my first Warped experience and I was front row for every single one of my favorite bands (Jack’s Mannequin, Anberlin, The Academy Is, Relient K…) This year, I wasn’t just a fan. I got a media bracelet and I spent half of my day backstage conducting interviews.

The reason I thought this year would be good to request a media bracelet was because there weren’t really that many bands that I LOVED- There were a bunch that I really liked and wanted to see, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to watch that many shows if I was doing interviews all day. Plus, it was a great way to actually discover new musicians! Was I EVER right.

I was backstage from 11:30am until 5:30pm almost completely. I did 8 interviews, and they’re all bands I respect and had a great time talking to. I also took pictures for Jenia’s interview with Enter Shikari (check them out, great band from the UK)  and I got to do photography in the pit (in front of the barricade) for a band called Every Avenue as well as Paramore. THAT was quite the experience. I was beyond the front row, literally one foot away from Hayley Williams herself, a musician that I respect and admire like I can’t even begin to tell you. I felt very, very lucky for those 15 minutes.

Here’s a list of the bands I interviewed, linked to their MySpace so you can check them all out, and a little bit about how our interview went. They’re all really awesome, seriously!

1. Less Than Jake

 

– Style: Ska
– This band has been around for almost two decades, and although ska is not my style at all, I had the best time interviewing Roger, one of the two lead vocalists for the band.  I can’t believe I had the chance to hang out with such a long time musician for 10 minutes- not to mention that he might have been one of the MOST down to earth guys ever. He’s been in the business for so long but I wasn’t intimidated at all. We joked around the whole time and I’m just so humbled what a cool guy he is.

 

2. Go Radio

– Style: Pop/Alternative/Rock
–  I discovered this band a couple months ago because I’d heard they were going to be on Warped and that they were good- and they really are! They’re just my type of music and I had a lot of fun watching them play live. I got to sit down with one of the members and it was really nice to just hang out and talk music with a band that I like listening to.

3. Relient K

– Style: Pop/Rock
– How cool is this band? They have an album called MMHMM, I seriously love them! I interviewed Ethan, one of the members, pretty last minute, but I had the best time. It was like talking to a friend and he was really nice and had great answers. Best part? At the end of my interview he took the time to tell me that I had a really great interviewing style and he loved how we just spent some time talking, and that it doesn’t happen like that all the time at all. He made some jokes and shook my hand, told me it was super nice to meet me (remembered my name!) and just yeah. I was really flattered.

4. Paramore

left to right: Jeremy, Hayley, Taylor

– Style: Alternative/Rock
– If you don’t know this band yet, PLEASE GO CHECK THEM OUT. Lead vocalist Hayley Williams is 23 years old and she is phenomenal. Her voice, I can’t even tell you how great. I’ve been a HUGE fan of Paramore since College when they released their album ‘Riot!’ and the song ‘Misery Business‘ which is catchy by anyone’s standards. I got to interview Jeremy, one of the members who’s been around since the beginning, and he was absolutely HILARIOUS. He kept making jokes and I was easily myself, joking around and throwing around a little bit of sarcasm with him. I still can’t believe I interviewed one of the members of Paramore. Wow.

5. Every Avenue


– Style: Pop/Rock
– I wasn’t supposed to interview this band, but they were just relaxing by the media tent without much to do and were looking to talk up their band so I thought why not? They’re an incredibly talented bunch of guys and it’s always fun to talk to guys who are excited about what they’re doing. I got the impression they were a bit nervous during the interview from the way they were answering me, but that humbled me more than anything else. I caught part of their set later and got to take pictures in the pit and they put on a super fun show and had lots of energy too!

6. Automatic Loveletter


– Style: Alternative
– Singer/songwriter Juliet Simms has one of the most unique voices & I’ve been a fan of hers for about 4 years now. I first heard of her when she sang alongside All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth in a song called ‘Remembering Sunday‘ which I’ve been in love with ever since. I was most nervous to interview her but I have no idea why, she was so down to earth and funny and very honest. It was an absolute pleasure to finally get to meet her.

8. Ill Scarlett


-Style: Dub/Punk/Rock
– This band isn’t my usual style of music, but they’re from Toronto and I was interested in learning more about them since they’re so close to where I’m from. They’ve got a really fun summer vibe to them. I interviewed one of the guys and he was so relaxed and having the best time on Warped. It’s a tough festival for any band (think 3 straight months traveling the States and parts of Canada, 12 hour long drives every night, even longer days setting up and taking everything down) but he was absolutely loving everything about it.

9. Shut Up & Deal 

-Style: Pop/Rock
– I interviewed two of the guys in this band, they were a TON of fun to chat with and super down to earth. You can download their album on their Myspace (linked above) for FREE. Go now.

I finished off my day with Jenn watching Paramore from the main stage. There were SO many people that once I was done taking pictures we couldn’t get anywhere even close to the stage, so we just enjoyed it from a distance, and left just before the last song so we wouldn’t get caught with everyone leaving. We were both EXHAUSTED, but I had a really great time. Not only with interviews, but I just love the ambiance at Warped. There are so many people there for music and for a good time, it’s hard to leave there in a bad mood. I’m already excited for next year!