Wednesday, November 24, 2010

30 days of Christmas yogi-style

Maybe it's the cold weather, all the snow, or the sun setting at 4 in the afternoon... but I'm in a bit of a slump these days. A classic case of the winter-blues.

Not one to sit around and let this get the best of me, I am going to do something about it. I have just decided that today is going to day 1 of my personal 30-day yoga challenge. 30 classes in 30 days, ending on Christmas Eve. It'll be tough to do with school, finals, work, and general holiday insanity. But it I know it will be a great thing for my body, mind, and spirit...just what I need! To all my yogini's: grab a friend and get out there, do some yoga (to my fellow canucks, I recommend the hot variety to de-thaw,) because yoga, like cocktails, is best when shared with friends!!

A classic warm treat for those in need.... Brrrrr!

B-52 Coffee
.5oz Bailey's
.5oz Grand Marnier
.5oz Kaluah
-whipped cream
-chocolate shavings

add booze and coffee into a mug, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
cuddle up with a special someone to stay warm
this winter. xo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wolves Among Sheep

On Monday, November 8th, I attended a James Kostelniuk's reading, he wrote Wolves Among Sheep: The True Story of Murder in a Jehovah's Witness Community. The reading took place at JobWorks, an adult education center where my aunt teaches a grade 12 english class. Kostelniuk read passages from his heart-wrenching book, a non-ficton tale written on his own terrifying experience: his ex-wife, Kim Anderson and their two children were murdered by her second husband, Jeff Anderson.

Aside from reading a couple of passages, he didn't talk too much about the book at the reading, but more about his own coming to terms with the tragedy, his correspondance with Anderson in jail, and how the book helped him heal. Anderson is up for parole this year, and Kostelniuk spoke of his stuggle with the Canadian legal system, that had a maxiumum "life" sentence of only 25 years, no matter how heinous the crime.

The students in the class, who had read the book, could not wrap their head around how Kostelniuk was able to correspond with the man who brutally murdered his children. Their questions to him and the discussions that followed made it clear that the students themselves had lives through some tough times.

Being the optimist that I try to be, I attempted of course to try to find a positive amist the horrific tradgedy. Twenty years ago, Kostelniuk was a bus driver for Winnipeg Transit, today he is an accomplished authour and a journalist for the Steinbach newspaper, and has pursured his passion for writing. Of course he wished things weren't this way and that somehow he could have been an accomplished writer as well as a father.

The reading was quite emotional, and it was truly heartwrenching to hear this man's story, and see how far he has come in the healing process.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicks Edition of Dating Don'ts.

Due to overewhelming response from guys who feel they aren't the only ones to blame for terrible first dates, and in the interest of gender equality, here are some dating don'ts for the ladies.

You may wonder how a single 27-year old woman is qualified to give such advice: 4 out of 5 ex-boyfriends polled agree that I am indeed a great first date!! I also collaborated with some of my male friends to figure out what us chicas need not do in order to be a great first date.

Don't get ahead of yourself - It is a natural female thing to do: you meet a cute/smart/funny guy, he asks you out, and the next thing you know, you're light years ahead of yourself. It starts out innocently enough; thinking about what he might like to eat for breakfast so that you can stock your fridge, just in case. And then your thoughts wander to what your wedding will be like and how cute your children will be (you hope they get his nose but don't inherit this hairline). As much as having a positive outlook for the new prospective relationship can be a good thing, try to stay in the moment (aka reality). That way if it doesn't work out between you two, it won't be a massive let-down.

Don't be crazy- This is an elaboration on the former. Don't say anything like "you are the perfect guy to father my kids, I am ready for this if you are." "We are perfect for each other, this is it, I can feel it... can't you?" It's a first date!! Take a breath, and relax. Be laid back and just enjoy, don't set your expectations too high (of him or the date.)

Don't be self-conscious- We all have things that we don't like about ourselves: small boobs, growing waistline, gangly hands... whatever. Dress to play up your best assets, and do your best to not mention those things you happen to not like. Comments like: "I am fat/ugly/stupid" are a definite no no, and when he compliments you on your fabulousness, accept the compliment, smile and say: "Thank you." In other words, just be cool. If you aren't cool, fake it.

Don't be desperate- You haven't been on a date in months, you've been searching for your prince charming forever, and now you are just so excited that may have found him. If it doesn't work out with this one, you don't know what you will do!! The thought of spending one more Saturday night alone at home watching terrible J-Lo/Mcconaughey RomComs with a large pizza and a tub of ice cream depresses you to no end. When you are desperate, you send out a sub-conscious vibe of desperation that men can pick up on. They will be less attracted to you, even if they cannot actually pinpoint why. Don't put tons of pressure on yourself for the date to work out. Be confident, and know that J-Lo, Matt, 'zza and Ben & Jerry's are much better companions than the wrong guy.

Don't text/bbm/talk on your phone - This is a repeat, that again, should just be common sense, but sadly isn't. Don't constantly be on your phone, or take a phone call while out with a guy. It's just plain rude, and he'll feel like you may be talking/texting about him, which you probably are. If you are dying to tell your bff how amazing/horrible the date is going, wait till he hits up the men's room, send her a quick text, and put your phone away.

Don't order "just a salad & a water" or talk about your latest diet - this goes with the whole self-conscious thing. A girl who is insecure about her weight is a big turn off. All the guys I talked to agreed that they prefer to date a girl that has a little meat on her, that they can enjoy a cheeseburger with. You may be working towards your fitness goals and watching your diet, and that's awesome, but date night is a time to relax and enjoy. So save the diet-talk, and order a real meal and a glass of wine.... live a little!!

Don't expect him to pay. If he offers, let him. - In this modern world of gender equality, some things have gotten all mixed up when it comes to picking up the check. Here is the protocol (every guy I talked to about this one agreed on this). When the check comes, reach for the bill (a gesture that shows that you are willing to pay for your portion, which you should always have $$ for, just in case). If (and when) he grabs the bill and pulls it over to his side of the table, that's it, you've done your part. Don't argue with him over it, or pay the bill behind his back. You paying the bill on date 1 will emasculate him, or worse, have him think he can take advantage of your generosity in the future. Later on in a relationship, you can take turns treating each other, but even though we are in the 21st century, the bill on the first date is the guy's responsibility.

Don't initiate the first kiss - this again goes with dating standards that should remain old-school. If you think things went well, lean in for a kiss, but don't go all the way, if he's into you, he'll pick up on your vibe and plant one on ya!

Don't put out- This again should be obvious in my opinion, but some women just don't get it. If you actually like a guy and he is relationship material, don't have sex with him on the first date. He will lose a little respect for you (even if he would never admit it), and well, in the dating game, if you go "all the way" right away... that's it, you've played all your cards, given him the upper hand and are left a little powerless. Don't get me wrong, if he's hot, and are looking for nothing more than a free dinner and a shag, put out. If you like him, be patient and make him wait a little for the goods, trust me, he will. You'll have plenty of time to ravage each other once the time is right.

After all this, I am sure you use a stiff drink, I know I sure could!

First Kiss

-2oz Orange Vodka
-soda water
-splash cranberry juice
-lime wedge

-mix all ingredients into a rocks glass full of ice.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dating Don'ts for Guys

When I moved back to "the real world" from my island paradise six months ago, I decided that I was going to keep my focus on school, work and myself. A relationship being the last thing I needed, I decided not to date. I have been good so far, but it's getting cold outside, and well, I cannot help but think it'd be nice to find someone to hibernate with for the winter. For this reason, I went against my original plan went on a couple of dates.

What happened?? I decided to write some first date DON'Ts for guys out there, clearly, my help is needed.

Yes, they were that bad!

Don't ask a her where she'd like to go, and then tell her that the one place she picked is off-limits, because you are avoiding some people who will be there. This is a terrible way to start off a date. Take her where she wants to go, plain and simple. Also, this reason leaves her wondering "why is he avoiding people? this guy must be scketchy!" If she has no preference to where to go, be decisive and pick somewhere. Don't say "well…. ummmm…. I dunno, wherever you want. I don't care." Care. Take her somewhere cozy where you can have a conversation. Looking for something more lively? Then go to a nice bar that has a coat check. You will feel like a tool when her favourite blazer has been stolen off the back of her chair.

Don't go overboard with compliments. You're out with a girl: she's looking good, she's funny, smart and you're fascinated by her... So you keep telling her how amazing/witty/funny/cute/smart/awesome she is. Although giving an appropriate compliment or two is a good thing; hanging on to a girls every word and following her every statement with a "you are SO awesome" "are you always this cool?" "you're so great!" will just turn a girl off. Completely.

Don't text/bbm- This should be common sense, but sadly, too many guys cannot seem to put away their BlackBerry for a couple of hours and enjoy some face-2-face time. There is nothing more annoying than competing for your attention with a smartphone. Leave your phone at home to give your date your full and undivided attention, she deserves it.

Don't obsess over your "flaws"- Sure, maybe your car is a jalopy, or the moustache you're growing for Movember is horrendous, or you have a crappy job and make no money. These are things that most women will be willing to overlook if they like you. But if you keep on bringing it up and constantly reminding her about the negative things, she is much more likely to care about something she had been willing to overlook originally. Be yourself, be confident (not cocky), and honest. If she likes you, she won't care about what kind of car you drive, or your horrendous sweater.

Don't talk about your ex-girlfriend- Just don't do it. your date doesn't need to hear about how what a "crazy heart-breaking bitch"" your last lover was . Not only is it totally tacky, but hearing you bad-mouthing your ex makes girls wonder what you'd say about her if things don't work out.

Don't flirt with your server- Even if things aren't going well with your date and your attractive server seems like a better option, don't try to pick her up. First of all, servers are getting hit on constantly the last thing is she needs is yet another sleezeball asking her what her tattoos signify and what her astrological sign is. When you are on a date and you flirt with your server, she immediately thinks you're a douche. Secondly, it is terrible for your dates self esteem

Don't lie- Again, something that should be common sense, but sadly isn't. What if one day you end up falling for this girl? How are you going to tell her that you actually rent your apartment (you thought being a condo-owner sounded better), and that you aren't 26, but actually pushing 30? Be honest from the start to avoid awkward, uncomfortable conversations later.

It is safe to say that after just a few weeks back in the wonder world of dating, I am withdrawing from it once again. *sigh* It's going to be a cold winter!!!

Our cocktail this week is dedicated to my Cayman friends celebrating Pirates week. Sail away with the Captain's simple and delicious concoction


2oz Capt Morgan Spiced Rum
-Ginger ale

-Lime wedge

-Mix Rum, and equal parts coke and ginger ale in a glass filled with ice. Squeeze in lime wedge. Sail Away!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Love & Basketball

My relationship with Basketball has been one of the longest and most significant relationships of my life. It started when I was just nine years old. My father was a total jock and he coached the majority of my teams. When he wasn't able to coach because my French school division did not allow the non-French to to coach the school athletic teams, he was in the stands for every game. He would keep track of the game's stats as well as key plays, that we discussed over slur-pees on the drive home. When my time as a player was done, I followed in his footsteps and coached a 14 - 17 year old girls team. He taught me the skills to be a good coach, and our team won two back-to-back Championship titles in the WMBA's spring league. He was again in the stands every game.

Five years ago my father died of a rare and fast-acting Cancer. My relationship with the sport inevitably changed. At first, I simply neglected it; busying myself with travel, friends, and life in general. I tried to ignore that that part of me had ever existed. I did some incredible things and saw some breathtaking places, but no matter how faraway I got from the Canadian prairie, Basketball somehow managed to find me.

In Southern Bolivia, just outside of the worlds' largest salt-flat desert, our travel group stayed in a hotel made entirely of salt, aseemingly unlikely place for a basketball court. But just steps behind our hotel, in the middle of nowhere, there it was. It had found me. I couldn't believe my eyes, my heart soard when I proceeded to beat two young Australian men at a game of around the world. It was a proud moment, I could feel my dad smiling down on me.

About a week ago, I faced my lost love at Red River College's Notre Dame campus. I covered the Rebel Women's basketball game for the school news paper, the Projector. Upon entering the gym, the sound of the squeeking shoes on the court, the bouncing leather balls, I realized that this was going to be hard. I couldn't help but notice the fathers sitting next to me in the stands cheering on their daughters. I

didn't realize that being around it would hurt so much.

My heart ached for the days of boxing-out under the boards and sinking free-throws, and for my proud father cheering me on from the bench.

The story I wrote for the Projector was published today, in the full color feature section. The photo I took from the men's game made the cover of the paper.

My proud father is smiling down on me today from the bench once again.

Basketball Jones

-2oz Jack Doniels


-In a rock glass full of ice, pour in Tom's two favorite things over ice. Stir and enjoy!