24 Mar

How to Run a Meeting

Hate meeting?  Of course you do – they’re often useless, time-sucking and boring.  They don’t have to be.  I’m going to share with you how to run a meeting.  #productive

Lonely Board - How to run a Meeting

1.  Have an Agenda and Follow It

Ever been stuck in a meeting that rambles on and on and gets nothing done?  There was probably no agenda.  Have one.  Follow it.  It makes sure that you stay on track and focused.

Also, don’t let anyone else drag you into a meeting if there’s no agenda.  Ask for one.  Feel free to explain to the person that you want to make sure that you are prepared for the meeting because you don’t want to waste their time.

2.  Take Notes

I know that taking notes during a meeting is no fun.  You want to talk!  How often have you come out of a meeting and cannot for the life of you remember what was discussed, agreed on and who has to do what.  Take notes.

They might prevent additional meetings.  No one wants additional meetings.

3.  End on Time

I’m a stickler for this one.  Finish up early?  Great!  Didn’t get everything  done?  Let everyone go and schedule a follow up meeting.  This demonstrates respect for everyone’s time, including yours.

Hash Tag - Cropped

Meetings don’t have to suck.  If you follow these simple rules, you can get in, get out and #getshitdone

22 Mar

March in Toronto

An interesting thing happens every March in Toronto…just as the days begin to get longer and brighter, we collectively decide that it’s no longer winter and we’re going to act that way despite the temperature.

March in Toronto - Ice

I kid you not, you will see people on patios, without coats on and sometimes even shirtless, even though it’s barely above freezing.

Don’t believe me?

BlogTO is already publishing articles about which patios you can already go and get your drink on.

My friends are spotting shirtless dudes in the park.

Warm weather will eventually come, but we will probably get another snow storm first.  It will warm up one day (probably in May) and in the meantime, we will collectively pretend that it is no longer winter.

As we always do.

March in Toronto - Buds

19 Mar

Creativity and Grief

We’ve been on hiatus here at Make it Bittersweet.  Not a planned hiatus, but Mary and I have both suffered losses recently and have found it incredibly difficult to be creative and “on” while grieving.

Creativity and Grief - Wilting Tulips

Grieving can be such an all encompassing thing.  Riding that wave up and down…feeling a bit OK and then absolutely NOT.  You always hear that time heals things.  I’m not quite sure about that.  The waves of grief come less frequently, but I think that they never go away.  That’s just the cost of love.

Creativity and Grief - Wilting Tulips Closeup

It’s only been recently that both of us have started to be ready to dive in and get creating again…in fact, we’re both craving it now.  We’re both excited to get back and see what new and beautiful things are to come.

Creativity and Grief - More Wilting Tulips

30 Nov

Liebster Award

We’ve been nominated for a Liebster Award by Life in German!  From what I can tell, this is kinda like a blogger chain letter, but we’re going for it!

Here are the rules:

1. Link back to the person who nominated you.
2. Write 11 facts about yourself once nominated.
3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
4. Nominate 11 blogs with 200 or less followers.  Let them know they’ve been nominated.
5. Create 11 Questions for those bloggers to answer.

Let’s start with the random facts:
– I was born and live in Toronto, Canada.
– My first language was Lithuanian, but I can’t speak it now.
– I eloped in Mexico almost 15 years ago.
– I have three cats, who all need special diets and who all want to eat the wrong food.
– I have another blog:  This Fox Cooks
– I like dancing to 80’s music way too much.
– I know all of the words to way too many of Weird Al’s songs.
– I’m an IT geek and have a degree in Computer Science.
– My favourite movie is a tie between “Zorro, the Gay Blade” and “Labyrinth”.
– I watch too many cooking shows.
– I can’t think of one more random fact about myself.

Now for the questions we need to answer:
1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Tulum, Mexico…it’s so beautiful there!

2. Where do I absolutely have to go and what do I need to do when I get there?

Tulum, obviously (see above.)  There, you need to relax and enjoy the gorgeous water and amazing food.  Once you’ve had some time to chill, drive inland to see the ruins at Coba.  Then, take a trip a little father inland to see the city of Valladolid .   While you’re there, go to the


3. Your top place that you want to travel to and what you would do there.

Tulum – see both above.

4. Do you have any upcoming trips, where to?

Nope.  See my Dream Vacation post.

5. What are your carry on travel necessities?

I like to be covered for almost any emergency, but I also try not to over pack (it’s a tricky balance.)  Definitely:
– Moisturizer and sunscreen
– iPad loaded with magazines, movies and music
– A good book
– A snack (almonds are always good)
– Ginger pills (I don’t like flying and these calm my stomach)
– A giant scarf that I can use as a blanket
– Disinfectant wipes

6. How did you decide on your blogs name?

It’s actually a play on Mary’s and my name. Mary means “Bitter Sea” (in Hebrew) and Rasa translates to “essence” or “nectar” (in Sanskrit).  We combined these and our name was born.

7. Why do you blog?

As a creative outlet.

8. What’s in your purse at this very moment?

Wallet, my makeup/emergency stuff bag and a wooden cat.

9. Wine, beer, or a cocktail?

Wine, please!

10. What is your favorite dish/favorite thing to cook?

Too many to choose just one…I love making pizza for a group or tacos (I even make my own tortillas.) Schnitzel is also very popular in my house. I also love making a curry with whatever veggies I want to use up.

Taco Party Spread

11. What is your favorite side dish/appetizers?

Again, too many to choose from, but let’s a go with a nice cheese board (as an appetizer.)  This lets me put out a selection of interesting cheese and nibbles that everyone can pick at…and I love cheese. And bread.

I’ve never been good at passing on chain letters, so I don’t really know who to nominate, but here are my questions:

1.  Christmas stuff in stores the day after Hallowe’en.  Yay or nay?
2.  Christmas music before December.  Yay or nay?
3.  What food trend needs to go away immediately?
4.  If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
5.  What famous cartoon character or puppet would you be?
6. Your 3 desert island essentials?
7. Biggest pet peeve?
8. Favourite flower?
9. Lipstick, lip gloss or chapstick?
10. What is your favourite book?
11. What would be your last meal?


25 Nov

What to Drink When You’re Sick

Cough.  Cough.

It’s been a sneezing and sniffling filled couple of weeks here at Make It Bittersweet.  I’ve had a nasty cold, just in time for the start of the cold weather.   In honour of finally feeling better, I’m going to share my “what to drink when you’re sick” recipe.  Let’s call it a “healing tonic”.

What to drink when youre sick - Boubon

This is a very “scientifically” crafted drink recipe.  It contains all of the essential ingredients to help you get better:

– Honey to sooth your sore throat

– Lemon for the Vitamin C

– Hot water to warm you up and sooth that sore throat

– Bourbon…also to warm you up, make you feel better and all that other important stuff that Bourbon does

In a small mug, pour about an ounce of Bourbon and add a spoonful of honey and the juice from half a lemon.  Top with boiling water, stir to combine and sip slowly.

What to drink when youre sick - close up

Hope that you don’t need to use my healing tonic over the winter, but you’ll appreciate it if you do.   Remember not to mix with any medications that you can’t have alcohol with!

p.s.  Other whiskey’s also work well in this drink if you don’t have Bourbon kicking around.  Just don’t use the super good stuff!

12 Nov

Ambulance Etiquette Lessons

A siren pierces the air.  Emergency! An ambulance hurtles down the road at top speed, the people inside it feverishly working to save someone’s life.   A firetruck races against time towards a burning building.  Every minute counts.  Sometimes,  every second counts.  You call 911, your beloved lies dying in your arms.  Why are they taking so long,  you desperately think,  why aren’t they here NOW?

I’ll tell you why. Because drivers on the road who don’t pull over for emergency vehicles are 100% selfish.  I was walking down the street today and encountered this very phenomenon.  Literally in a full and busy street of cars in the middle of the afternoon,  one person pulled over to the side.  ONE PERSON.  ONE.  ONE PERSON ONLY.  SERIOUSLY.

Ambulance Etiquette Lessons - Traffic

What is wrong with people?  Are they texting? Talking?  Figuring that it doesn’t have to do with ME so I can just ignore it?  This is one of those things that makes me weep for human kind.  It’s only a few seconds to pull over and let an emergency vehicle through and it means SOMEONE’S LIFE.

Oh well,  the guy in front of me didn’t pull over and so I don’t have to either.  Oh well, I can’t quite see where the ambulance is so it’s probably not behind me.  Oh well,  there’s room in the other lane,  they can just go around me.  Oh well,  I’m in a hurry and I don’t have time to pull over and then get back out into the road.  Oh well,  I’ll just stop right here,  that’s as good as pulling over, right?

LISTEN UP.  This is not a hard concept to grasp.  Stop over thinking.  Stop justifying.  STOP.  PULL OVER.  PULL OVER RIGHT AWAY. THAT’S IT.  YES I AM YELLING.

I think it’s because there are no direct repercussions for these drivers to deal with.  After all,  firemen and paramedics aren’t going to stop to get a license number or punch someone out.  They’re busy,  oh,  SAVING LIVES AND SHIT.

Ambulance Etiquette  Lessons - Light

We should get cameras out there on the trucks.  And every one who doesn’t pull over when it’s lights and sirens time gets hit right square in the wallet.  The money goes straight into the relief fund for first responders. It doesn’t mean they don’t still deserve a punching.  THEY DO. Before you know it someone’s going to put together that when someone dies because of the delay caused by the driver who doesn’t pull over, there’s a chance that they could be found to be culpable.

It would seriously warm my cold, icy stone of a heart if someone knows of a place where people are still decent folk who give the slightest crap that an emergency vehicle needs to get through? Please don’t let that place be the past.  Or the future.  Or Michigan.  Please,  pull over.  And then you can think to yourself,  Hey I just did my part for saving someone’s life.  Isn’t it wonderful that in just a minute or two,  I could help someone that much.  I’m awesome!  I should buy me a drink!


Ambulance Etiquette Lessons - Sign

04 Nov

What We Learned – #Blogtober14 Baby!

It actually felt really weird not blogging for a couple of days after we went so hard core and blogged EVERYDAY for the #Blogtober14 challenge.  A huge thanks and a virtual bouquet for The Daily Tay and Helene in Between.  Thanks for hosting the link up – we had a great time!

What We Learned - Tulips from Above

We saw that Two Little Pigs Down Under were doing a “What We Learned” post about Blogtober, so we decided to jump onboard and do one as well.  Can you tell that we’re a little anxious about Blogtober being over and not having any more prompts??

Here’s what we learned about blogging everyday for #Blogtober14:

1.  Blogging everyday is a lot more fun and challenging than either of us thought it would be.

2.  Having a different prompt everyday is way more fun than we realized…and great inspiration.

3.  Mary writes much longer posts than me.  We wrote almost an equal number of posts, but here are the final word tallies:

Rasa:  3,721

Mary:  5,959

4.  Mr. Fox is a great editor.  Thanks to my sweet husband for being our editor, bouncing board and blog content critiquer-extroidinare.

5.  We can actually blog everyday…who knew??

6.  Everyone really likes to hear Mary rant.

What We Learned - Tulips

7.  Setting a goal to blog everyday for the month and accomplishing it is extremely satisfying for both of us.

8.  There’s an amazing community of bloggers out there sharing amazing and inspirational stories.

So, who wants Mary to rant more??  Anyone doing Blogvember or Blogcember?

31 Oct

Halloween Reveal

We made it to day 31 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Whew!  We have blogged everyday and had an amazing time.  Now, for our “Hallowe’en Reveal.”

Mary and I LOVE dressing up for Hallowe’en, but here’s the real reveal tonight, we’re staying in to watch a movie and only “kinda” dressing up – we can’t help that.  Since we aren’t fully dressing up tonight, here’s a peek at one of our older Hallowe’en costumes, when we went as the cast of G.I. Joe.  With me as the Baroness:

Halloween reveal - Rasa

That’s one wicked Baroness.

And Mary as Lady Jay:

Halloween Reveal - Mary


Halloween reveal - rasa et al

Happy Hallowe’en everyone!!

The Daily Tay
29 Oct

Most Embarrassing Moment

Day 29 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Here’s Mary with epic tales of her “Most Embarrassing Moment.”

Oh,  once again how to choose,  how to choose… Even leaving out the multitude of painfully shame-filled moments involving drunken escapades,  bodily functions or ex-husbands,  there’s still plenty.  The time I was in Mexico and the hotel clerk asked me in English for my credit card and I responded with ‘no habla espanol’.. twice…  (Rasa had to step in and save me on that one)  Or the time I called a cat owner by her cat’s name (to be fair I had spent more time with the cat than her).

After a quick poll,  I’ve decided to go with this oldie-but-a-goodie, from my Mexico trip when Paul and Rasa tied the knot at Chichen Itza.

Most Embarrassing - Mary and Paul

It was a beautiful vacation,  hanging out with my friends was wonderful and witnessing  their wedding was one of the highlights of my life.  We drank out of fruit,  we ate delicious gazpacho,  we went to the ruins,  the gorgeous,  spectacular ruins.

At the end of my trip,  Paul and Rasa drove me to the airport and I was heading up the escalators thinking about how lucky I had been,  to not be clumsy at all during the entire time,  I didn’t fall down,  or trip or anything and I was not wearing good shoes!

Most Embarrassing - Mary and Rasa

Daydreaming,  I tripped stepping off the escalator into the small waiting room for departures from Merida.  I fell like a ton of bricks and threw my arms out in front of me,  my bags on one arm flying off to the left and my suitcase flying off to the right as I flew off the top of the elevator like Super-girl.  In a panic and grabbing instinctively to cushion my fall I latched onto the rear end of the woman in front of me.  A buxom,  rotund older woman whose upper half whipped around to stare shocked at a bizarre Canadian woman grabbing her ass and shouting “gracias gracias” over and over again, which  was the only thing I could remember amidst the sensation of my knees slamming into the floor  the gasp of the collective waiting room and the woman herself.

An eternal moment of embarrassment later,  she scurried away and I shamefully limped about the waiting room collecting my things and moaning from time to time about the state of my scraped and bruised knees.  The stares eventually subsided.  When I got home,  my husband at the time took one look at my wrecked knees and quipped,  “I thought I said no pool boys!”

The Daily Tay
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