Friday, July 29, 2011

TGIF!!!

... Although the work has just begun!

Conducting my first phone interview in almost 3 years in about, oh, 5 minutes. I'm nervous, yet excited. The interviewee is a dear friend of mine, which makes it a bit less nerve-wracking, as is the fact that this is my third time interviewing him. No matter how many times you do it, though, it never gets any easier.

{Wish me luck!}

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Garden Oasis

{Style at Home via Debra Prinzing}

It's such a beautiful day out today, so I'm going to spend the afternoon gardening and enjoying the gorgeous weather (while it lasts). And don't you just LOVE the garden oasis pictured above?? It was designed by landscape designer Mark Gregory and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, and was featured in the May 2011 issue of Style at Home!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You're Never Too Old ...

{Photo by Norman Jean Roy via Vogue August 2011 Issue}

What Makes YOU Happy?

{Photo by Sue Ahmed via Flickr}

I was inspired recently by this post over at Made By Girl, where the owner, Jen Ramos, asked her readers what their passion was. Now obviously you know what my passion is - writing!! I've been writing since I was a little girl, I even started my own newspaper when I was 11 years old, and I had forgotten, until recently, that when asked in grade one what I wanted to be when I grew up my answer was, a writer.

So on that note, I'm happy to share some exciting news ... 

Today I landed my first (paying) freelance writing gig!! I don't want to say for what publication just yet (I don't want to jinx it - even though they've already said yes, I keep expecting the "I'm sorry we changed our minds" email ... - I guess I'm superstitious that way) but I will let you know when the time comes. 

I'm also excited to let you guys know that I have a series of author interviews coming up on this blog so stay tuned ... 

Some other things I'm passionate about: 

Good Food
Great Friendships
Wine
Champagne and Pizza (gluten free)
Cheese (Baked Brie ... mmm ...)
Feel Good Chick Flicks
Curling up with a good book
The Hills (my guilty pleasure)
Pugs!
Warm weather and LOTS of sun
Margaritas
Eating Sushi
Japanese Beer
Water (oceans, lakes, rivers, a tall refreshing glass with lime!)
Poetry
Bubble Baths
Buying office supplies (and staying organized)
Walks
Playing my guitar
Good conversations ...

What is it that makes YOU happy? What are you passionate about??

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Art of Reading

{Photo via lilsugar}

When I was a kid I loved to read. It was a struggle at first, but once I caught on to the joys of reading I couldn't get enough, and I could go through a book in a day. I used to find all sorts of sneaky ways to stay up late, curled up with my latest Nancy Drew mystery, and though I would get in trouble for not sleeping, you can hardly blame a kid for wanting to fill her mind with wonderful stories.

I love anything that encourages young ones to read, and I absolutely love the print shown above. Wouldn't it look so cute hanging on the wall of a child's bedroom?

What was YOUR favourite book as a child?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I ♥ This

I'm always looking for ways to make organizing my life easier, and I'm especially always looking for beautiful items to help me get the job done. I'm currently hearting this zebra print day planner from My Agenda.



What items do YOU love that help you stay organized?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Friday!

I only wish I could travel on this ...

 {Photo by Juan Pablo Magnano via AD}

So that I could get to this ...

 {Photo by Dan Forer via AD}

Instead I'll be doing this ...

{Writing a la Carrie Bradshaw. Photo via this blog}

And okay, maybe I'll be sipping a little of this ...

{Who doesn't love Sangria?}

Have a great weekend everyone!!! 
Let me know what all of you are up to! 
xoxo

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Because I'm a Dummy About Blogs

As you know, I am relatively new to the blogosphere - relatively meaning, I've started a few blogs before but they didn't take. And I knew as much about blogging then as I do now - which is not much. So I was so very happy to come across this book: Google Blogger for Dummies.


If you're like me (i.e. technologically challenged) then this book is worth checking out. I've found loads of tips and tricks just in the first few pages. For example: I was so excited a couple of weeks ago when I finally figured out how to create a hyperlink. All I had to do was switch over to edit html, find the word I wanted to link to, and type out the long code - a href, and all that jazz. This book taught me that all I had to do was highlight the word I wanted to link to, click on the "link" button above and type in the email address.

How easy is that??!!!???

For those of you who are blogging pros, you're probably laughing at me right now, but seriously, that's how web-challenged I am. And I have to say, I'm really enjoying myself since I started this blog a mere 3 weeks ago.

For anyone else out there who struggles to "get" the more technical aspects of blogging, I really recommend this book. On top of learning some basic HTML and all the features of blogger, the book also covers topics such as growing your audience, the business of blogging (i.e. making money from your blog), and networking and relationship building.

For those who don't use blogger, a more recent book, also covering wordpress and typepad, can be found here.

Happy Blogging everyone! :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm A Writer!

And like most writers (and other artists) there are things that will drive your spouse and/or family crazy. Here are a few tips, from me to you, on dealing with the inevitable:

1) When you say you’re going to fold the laundry, don’t all of a sudden get a burst of creativity and instead go sit down at your computer to punch out a few pages. Don’t you know that when you get a brilliant idea, it can wait!?! Trust me, you won’t forget*.

2) Ditto for dishes, bed-making, vacuuming, and any other household chore, really. Actually, come to think of it, maybe it would just be better if you don’t say you’re going to do those things. That way, he’ll have low expectations, and when you DO manage to tear yourself away from the laptop and into the kitchen to, you know, put some random pieces of food together and call it a meal, he’ll be so impressed with your effort that it’ll be AT LEAST another month before he realises the laundry has once again gone unfolded**.

3) Every time your spouse brings up that fact that writing isn’t exactly raking in the bucks (yet, I say, yet), gently, and subtly, avert his attention to something else, say, a piece of lint that is floating in the air. Taking your top off works wonders as well, but let’s save the drastic measures for when it’s really needed (like when your overdue credit card bill arrives in the mail ... err ...).

4) When you’re so caught up in the world you’ve created on the page, sometimes it’s easy to forget what’s happening in the real world around you. Here are a few key phrases to keep handy for when you’re spouse is trying to have a conversation with you while you write:

“Uh huh, of course I’m listening.”

“What was that? I’m actually listening so intently, that my focus caused me to not hear what you just said!”

“Huh?”

And my personal favourite:
“Leave me alone, I’m writing.”***

All jokes aside, it’s been a tough transition for my partner and me to adjust to my decision to go back to being a writer. Tough for me because writing jobs are few and far between and what is available is highly competitive, so I need to work twice as hard to “break in”; and that’s not including my fiction aspirations either. Tough for him because he can’t understand why I would choose a job with so much uncertainty over something more secure (and lucrative). He’s an engineer though, I wouldn’t expect anything less! ;p In the end, I know he loves and supports me no matter what, but it doesn’t make those tough moments any easier.

To be honest, I still have moments where I think, “hey, maybe I should become a law clerk after all”; or a lawyer, or teacher, or architect, or any other “safe” career I’ve considered in the past. And for a little bit, the fantasy sounds nice; a nice, steady income, Monday to Friday hours, weekends off; yearly trips to Panama, Florida and Europe; a new couch, and a new wardrobe (god, I’m dying for new clothes!!). Then I remember who I am and I know that, though those things may satisfy me in the short term, in the long term I would regret not following my passion.

Plus, I’m a terrible employee. Truly aweful. Seriously, other people will actually benefit from my being self-employed.  

So there you go. In the most round-about way I could think of, this is me acknowledging that I’m a writer. Deep down to my bones, I know I’m a writer, and I’m finally at peace with admitting it. That is, until the next time I covet a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, or think about my dream vacation to the Maldives. Sigh, at least I can write about it! 

*Actually, most likely you will forget. Always write things down! And see piece of advice number two.
**This is wishful thinking.
 ***You may have to take your top off later to make up for this one.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Perfect Storm

The past two days have been beautiful, but sweltering hot. So hot, in fact, that heat warnings have been sent out. Then, about 20 minutes ago the sky darkened, suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the wind whipped about, and the sky opened up - and the rain came.


With all of our modern advances and technology, it's easy to forget the power of mother nature.

Do any of you enjoy thunderstorms?

{See more awesome lightning photos here}

Friday, July 15, 2011

Have a Great Weekend!

I will be spending my weekend with my guy, enjoying the beautiful summer weather, doing a bit of writing, and watching the film version of Fran├žoise Sagan's novel Bonjour Tristesse!


Bonne fin de semaine!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moroccan Spice

Currently reading Lulu in Marrakech, by Diane Johnson (she’s also the author of Le Divorce) for a bit of inspiration for one of my short stories. I’ve read this novel before, about a young woman named Lulu Sawyer, who agrees to go undercover for the American CIA in order to retrace money from well-off donors to radical Islamic groups, and I loved it. It has a bit of everything; Intrigue, Glamour, Romance, Culture.


Ever since I saw the 1942 film Casablanca, starring Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, I’ve wanted to travel to Morocco, and I hope to go someday in the near future ... perhaps for my honeymoon in 2013! 

 {Photo of the Riad Anayela Resort via Oliveaux}


1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz pomegranate puree or juice
Pour the vodka, cardamom simple syrup, lemon juice and pomegranate puree in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.Shake well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Serves 1.

Cardamom Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1/4 cup whole cardamom
2 cups sugar
Bring water and cardamom to a boil.
Stir in sugar until fully dissolved.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, then remove the cardamom
.

On My Way Home



Been having a bit of a rough week and I found this video and it made me smile (ok ... and tear up a bit, lol), so I wanted to share it with you all. It doesn't have anything to do with writing, but it shows one person's love and commitment to another, and to me, that's worth blogging about!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Top 5 Adaptations

I’ve never been a snob when it comes to film adaptations of books, because I appreciate both mediums equally, in their own way. That’s not to say that I’ve never seen a bad adaptation (I honestly couldn’t even make it to the end of My Sister’s Keeper); but like all forms of art, it is a matter of opinion.

So here are, in my opinion, my top five adaptations from books:


Wicked by Gregory Maguire: This is actually a stage adaptation, not a film adaptation, but I’ve included it because it is one of those instances where I liked the adaptation better than the actual book. 

                { The Novel}                           {The Musical}                           

Sideways by Rex Pickett: It’s about wine, need I say more? 

 
{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: I could watch this movie, and read this book over and over again and never get tired of it. Many adaptations have been done, but I actually really like the most recent one with Kiera Knightly.

{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray: Reese Witherspoon did an excellent portrayal of Becky Sharp, and again I liked the film better than the novel. Mira Nair directed and it is a visual feast for the eyes.

{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

      Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote: I love both the film and the novel. Each has a completely different ending than the  other giving me two stories I can enjoy.

{ The Novel}                           {The Film}

There are many film adaptations that I like, but these are my favourites. There were a few others I had thought to include, but ultimately they didn’t make this list simply because I saw the film but didn’t read the book; or I saw the film and read the book, and liked the film, but didn’t feel like it could stand alone, so this list is by no means complete. 

Whether or not a film follows the book exactly, which is the criteria many people use to determine whether or not an adaptation is “good”, is of no importance to me. What matters to me is whether the film can stand on its own, without needing to have read the book first to know what the heck is happening on the screen. 

Do any of you have any favourite adaptations? If so, which ones?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Business of Writing

This weekend I had a really interesting conversation with my future father-in-law about self employment.

The idea of writing as a business (as opposed to writing as a hobby) has been in my head for a while now, but other than my time working as the journalist for a small weekly publication almost 3 years ago, the thought of actually getting paid to write now has been a daunting one. The fact that I did once get paid to write does give me some encouragement. The fact that I’ve let so much time go by without writing is a bit intimidating.

But alas, I was given a golden nugget of wisdom from said father in law: Just do it! (Nike really got it right with those ads). I’m paraphrasing his advice a lot, but that was the gist of it. If you want to work for yourself you just have to buckle down and go for it.

Steven Pressfield said it best, I think, in his book The War of Art:

“It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write”.

He also said:

“This second, we can sit down and do our work”.

In those two quotes, he encompasses the basic struggle within writers (and all artists, entrepreneurs, etc.); the natural tendency to gravitate toward resistance (that part of us that prevents us from doing what is most important) vs. the courage and strength needed to begin doing the work.

In my case, the work is writing. I’ve spent enough time talking about writing; enough time dreaming about writing; enough time reading about writing, and enough time planning what I’m going to do when I start writing. So now it’s time for me to write! 

I’m proud to say that while enjoying the beautiful weather this afternoon, I managed to churn out eight pages of writing (and I was sitting beside a pool – talk about temptation to give in to resistance).

{If only this were really my backyard}

I plan to write more on this topic, because there is just too much to say in one post, but I would also like to open up a dialogue with fellow bloggers and blog-readers about the topics of self employment and resistance if anyone is interest.

And I whole heartedly recommend The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, because his insight into the topic of resistance is unparalleled.

I’ll leave you with this quote by Jules Renard:

Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask.
Everything you want also wants you.
But you have to take action to get it.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Novel Destination

Trying to decide where the setting of my new story will take place, and while looking for inspiration I found some beautiful photos to share with all of you.


I can picture my character (and myself) taking in the breathtaking views of this luxurious Los Cabos resort ...


lounging in this stylish room ...


sipping a margarita on this penthouse terrace ...


 dipping my feet into the beautiful,clear waters of this resort in the Maldives ...


 or taking a nap on this little boat off the island of Capri ...


If the weather is nice I'll settle for lounging next to the pool ;)
Happy Weekend Everyone!

{Photo credits: Island Destinations, Architectural Digest, Isabelle Lafleche}

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beautiful Writing Spaces

{Image by Andrew Twort for AD}

Another beautiful space from the Monte Carlo home of the two brothers of Candy & Candy. I love the view and the sunlight pouring in.
 
{India Hicks via House & Home}

I'm drawn to the laid-back elegance of India Hick's writing space in her island home.

Now that it's summer, I'm loving spaces that are bright, airy, and laid back. My own writing space is still a (loving) work in process, and I can't wait to fill it with beautiful things that inspire me to write! 

{Image by Cate}

My work in progress so far! Can't wait to add floating shelves, an organization/inspiration board on the wall next to my desk; a custom built-in bookcase, and most importantly ... a stylish, yet super-duper comfy reading chair.

Where do YOU like to write? 

My Dream Library

 {Andrew Twort, for Architectural Digest}

I'm in love with this library, designed by Martin Kemp, head designer for Candy & Candy, situated in the heart of Monte Carlo. It's elegant and sumptuously luxurious ... and look at all those books!
 
What about you, what's your dream library? Or even just your favourite place to curl up with a good book?