Jan 31, 2012

What will you Celebrate Today?

Almost one full month ago, we were ringing in the new year. Didn't everything seem so fresh and new and exciting?

Those feeling have a habit of fading so fast...

That's why it's so important to find something to celebrate everyday. The world is so full of things to delight in, you just have to open your eyes! There is new music to dance to, ideas to explore, people to meet!

Why not go out to dinner because it's Tuesday, and that's awesome?

Get excited about rainbows. Raise your glass of OJ and propose a breakfast toast to a brand new day. Buy flowers for yourself (or your significant other). Or helium balloons. Play. Dress up for yourself, not an event. Dress down - put on your favorite pjs and snuggle up under a blanket. Take pictures. Laugh.

Make new goals - and reach them! When you do, don't forget to celebrate it in your own special way.

Be thankful for everything good in your life and tell those that are important to you how much they mean to you.

What will you celebrate today?

Jan 30, 2012

Music Monday: Push

I always forget how much I love Matchbox 20 until I'm listening to them.

Jan 25, 2012

Review: Imagine: How Creativity Works

I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer is the first non-fiction book I've ever reviewed. Please forgive me if it's terrible. Also, in case it is terrible, sorry to Penguin Books Canada and Goodreads, who got together and gave me this book for free. It showed up unexpectedly in the mail one Wednesday. Unexpectedly because I don't check my e-mail enough. An awesome surprise!

Imagination and creativity can seem like elusive beasts. Mythical creatures that come into our lives as a flash, and disappear just as quickly. Is that really how it is though? There are tons of beliefs and myths surrounding creativity that actually interfere with imagination. This book explores these myths, presenting scientific studies and real life examples to show that these beliefs are just plain wrong.

This book is full of science, statistics and studies. It's full of stories about real people and companies. It's full of surprises. Whenever I picked it up, I didn't want to put it down. It was easy to read, but never boring. In short: I loved it. Even when the research it presented was surprising, I never once found myself thinking, "What? I don't quite believe that..." because everything is backed up by examples, from Bob Dylan and Shakespeare to Pixar studios and the guy who created masking tape. I learned why ideas should be shared, why you should talk to more people and that you should fail - a lot - if you want to be innovative. 

This book should be read by everyone, but especially...no, just everyone.

Edit September 18 2012 - Some problems about this book have come to light. Read my brief note and some links about it here

Jan 20, 2012

Happy Friday! How about a (Hot) Drink?

I don't know about where you are, but here in Nova Scotia it can't decide if it's winter or not. One day it's negative ten with a windchill of what feels like negative a million, the next day it rains and is like, plus fifteen. Strange. It might be signaling the end of days, or at least that climate change is about to be a lot bigger deal then it already is. Anyway, this post is called Happy Friday not depressing friday, so lets change the topic. If it's deciding to feel like winter today in your neck of the woods, why not warm up with a Hot Toddy? Seems like as good an idea as any, right?

Last weekend, I was battling a cold, and made this, only with spiced rum. It was pretty excellent, and you should try it. It made my throat feel better and didn't taste as terrible as hot buttered rum.

Jan 19, 2012

Review: Timeline

Timeline by Michael Crichton...let me say: Michael Crichton has never disappointed me. Granted, this is only the second book of his I've read (the first being  State of Fear) but still. I was not disappointed in the least. Excellent book.

So basically, this book is about time travel. Well, no, not time travel. That's impossible. It's actually travel to another universe that the same as ours. And now it's the past. It's kind of complicated. There's quantum mechanics and science involved. Anyway, the book is full of science and history and sword fighting and flaming heads in the street. Yeah, that happened. Actually, it was just something that happened in passing, but seriously - flaming head! The other thing the book is full of - suspense. Even the boring parts were good because you just knew they were leading to better parts.

Was this the best novel of all time? No, of course not. But it was incredibly enjoyable. On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it a Pretty Excellent. If you like science and history and sword fighting - definitely check it out.

Jan 17, 2012

Things that are Awesome: Hilah Cooking

If you like cooking shows - which I do, I could watch them all day - and quirky girls that laugh at their own jokes, you will love Hilah Cooking. I found it in a quest to find a video on hot buttered rum (which I did end up trying and it was...ok. I mean, it wasn't terrible, but I would not making them again. If you're on the fence - skip it. You really aren't missing much). That video was my favorite so far, but I already have it in the hot buttered rum post, so I begrudgingly decided not to post it again. BUT! Check out these instead (and then click on the hot buttered rum link to watch that one).

Awesome, right? I told you so.

Do you have a favorite YouTube chef/cooking show? Let me know! I'll waste a good chunk of my day watching if you do.

Jan 16, 2012

Music Monday: Super Bass

So, Nicki Minaj is like really big or something. Yeah, I'm sometimes a little out of touch with trends (UNDERSTATEMENT). The first time I watched this video, I hated the song. My exact thoughts were, "Well, this is stupid." Then, one night when having a few drinks with friends this song came up in the playlist and I found that I really enjoyed it. I think this is a very important lesson in first impressions. Or something. Just watch the video...

Jan 3, 2012

Review: One Door Away From Heaven

 My first finished book of the New Year: One Door Away from Heaven by Dean Koontz. Yay, reading! I've only ever read one book by Koontz before (Dark Rivers of the Heart) and I really enjoyed it, so I was excited to start this book.

At the beginning, I loved this book. There were all these complex stories that didn't seem to fit together in any way. I was so excited to see where they would take me and how they would all come together at the end. Then it got weird. At first it was just eyebrow raising weird, but then it got really weird and the ending was disappointing. And weird. I'm not sure I liked it. I didn't hate it, but...it was just strange.

The parts about Leilani, her drugged out mother and her evil step-father - Dr. Doom were completely awesome. Leilani was born with one deformed arm and leg, and needs to use a leg brace. Her mother did too many drugs during pregnancy, and still does too many now. At nine, she is mature beyond her years, due to a terrible upbringing and psychological abuse. He step-father is a charismatic serial killer who hates the disabled and believes they should all be exterminated. I got to learn a little about the terrible side of bioethics. Their stories were horrifying, sad and evil. She confides all of this in her neighbours, Michelina Bellsong and her Aunt Geneva. I loved Micky Bellsong and Aunt Gen - with her almond cookies made with pecans and her vanilla coke made with cherry syrup. They have their own set of twisted pasts and problems, but they are completely taken in by this young girl and want desperately to help her. The bulk of the story centered around this group of characters, which is what made it a story worth reading. Their stories are complex and interesting, and I wanted to read more. In fact, if you took everything else out of the book, and just kept this part of the story, this review would probably be a lot more positive, and less confusing. 

The story of Noah Farrell, the private investigator, was woefully under told. He, like most of the characters in the book, had a terrible past and a troubled present. He comes from a family of criminals and drug peddlers, grew up to be a cop (which didn't work out) and later a PI. I was really excited about this character, who had a lot of page time in the beginning, and then he just kind of disappeared. Nothing for chapters and chapters. He was brought in at the end, but he wasn't really necessary for the way the story unfolded. He had so much potential and it was wasted.

Then there was the story of little Curtis Hammond. It's his story that makes things weird and takes the book from good to meh. It starts off that he's a fugitive on the run, whose mother has just been killed. Sounds awesome, right? That's before things get weird. I'm not going to get too far into the weirdness, because it's a major spoiler. It's all over the internet anyway, so if you really want to know, check Wikipedia. Anyway, it gets weird, which kind-of but not exactly ruins everything. I mean, the book is still ok, but it could have been so much better.

Let's talk about the ending. Oh, the ending. It kind of felt like the Author was like, "Oh crap, I need to end this..." and then he did. The ending was truly bizarre but still managed to be dull and kind of...meh. Everyone lived happily ever after in camper vans with lots of dogs. It doesn't make a whole lot more sense, even if you'd read the book. When they needed money for this new lifestyle, he got a minor character that I'd forgotten all about to throw some money at them. The end.

On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I would give this book a Just Ok. If you have some time to kill, and no other book to read, by all means, check it out. Like if you're stuck in an airport for eight hours or something. It's won't be a total waste of your time. But if you have something else to read, choose that instead. You wont be missing out on anything by skipping over this book. 

Jan 1, 2012

Here's to a Fabulous 2012!

Happy New Year! I'm sitting here, feeling pretty good, having my first coffee of 2012. I want to start the year off right, don't you? Some times that thought can feel a little paralyzing - What does it even mean? Where do I even start? Here are a few ideas.

Are you nursing a post New Year's Eve hangover? (After sleeping in a sufficient amount of time) have a big breakfast. From a small town greasy diner is best, or made with love by your significant other or best friend. If all else fails cook yourself some eggs, bacon and toast and call it a day. Make sure to include something greasy and something carb-y. I don't know the science behind it, but it makes you feel better. Also, rehydrate! Sip some water all day, you'll be feeling ready to face the new year in no time.

Are you feeling like you need a fresh start? Start at home. Clean a room top to bottom - or your whole house if you're feeling really ambitious. Maybe you want baby steps. Do all your laundry and put it away. Clean out a closet or drawer. Wash the dishes. Change your sheets. Do something to make your space feel fresh, and you'll feel fresh as well.

Is a health related goal in your New Year's Resolutions this year? Have some fruit and go for a walk. It really is that simple.

Other ideas? Put on an outfit that makes you happy - whether it's a sparkly party dress or jeans and a hoodie. Hug someone you love - in fact, hug everyone you love. Hug some people you might only just like. Make sure the people in your life know that they're special to you. Eat something unusual or special - a big steak, crab cakes, pho, cheesecake, chinese buffet, etc etc... Start a project. Learn a new word. Smile a much and as big as you can. Snuggle. Propose to toast to 2012 - doesn't have to be with alcohol, you can toast with your coffee, tea, glass of water...whatever.

However you start 2012, I hope it's your best year yet and that it's filled with happiness, health and tons of fun.

Happy New Year!