03 Oct

What I Can’t Live Without

It’s Day 3 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Today’s post is about “One Thing You Can’t Live Without .”  Here’s Mary with what she truly can’t live without.

Can't Live Without - Long Nose Dude puerto vallarta boardwalk

This topic reminds me of an exercise described by Joseph Campbell,  wherein each person is given 8 stones and each stone represents something precious to that individual. Something they can’t live without.  The participants are led through a cave and at certain turning points must sacrifice a precious item of their choice, thus illuminating their true priorities.  I’ve often thought about that exercise and if push came to shove, what I might choose to discard?  What I would choose to keep until the end, the essential ingredient to living?

Can't Live Without - Kids Reaching puerto vallarta boardwalk

There’s oxygen, of course, water and food, the survival game.  Friends and family and love.  Music, the lake and furry beasts.  Weather, information and ideas.  Freedom, choice and independence.  All of these are incredibly important to me and my daily life.  But are any of them things I consider really and truly essential for living?

Can't Live Without - Couple Dancing puerto vallarta boardwalk

I think for a question of this magnitude,  I must turn to the venerable Thich Nhat Hahn, Vietnamese Buddhist monk extraordinaire and a personal hero of mine.  Over the years and the struggles and the illuminations, I have become aware that the most essential thing in my life, the one thing I can’t live without, is my ability to be present.  To be right here and right now.  Being present underlies everything I do, want and could ever want, since it informs my direct experience with everything that is happening in my life.  This is an idea that is at the heart of Thich Nhat Hahn’s teachings about mindfulness.

Can't Live Without - Squid Head puerto vallarta boardwalk

One of the things that really illustrated this idea for me was his description of doing the dishes, a task that I have found irritating many times in the past. Thich Nhat Hahn says “do the dishes like you were bathing a baby buddha”. Everytime I wash a plate, I smile and think of washing a baby buddha and it is this awareness to the present, to the water rushing out of the tap, the plate in my hand, the delight of making it clean, the gratitude of being able to eat, use the plate, clean it, have running water, etc. etc. this awareness, this mindfulness is what brings such happiness.

Can't Live Without - Woman Curved puerto vallarta boardwalk

It is a skill and a habit that can be applied to any situation, any experience and any moment.  I can’t live without it!

Can't Live Without - Woman Curved in sunset puerto vallarta boardwalk

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”― Thích Nhất Hạnh, Being Peace

(Thanks, Thay!)

Can't Live Without - Sunset puerto vallarta boardwalk

The Daily Tay
02 Oct

When I Grow Up – Then and Now

It’s Day 2 of the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  Rasa here and today’s topic is “Dream job when you were little/ what is it now?”, but I’m going to tweak it slightly and let you know what I want to be when I grow up – then and now edition.

What I want to be - Grandparents

My Mom has often told the story of me coming home from elementary school one day in complete tears.  Asking why I was crying, I told her that I couldn’t be what I wanted to be when I grew up.   She was not going to accept this.  My mom launched into a very detailed explanation about how I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up.

What I want to be - feeding geese

There was no limiting what I could be because I was a girl.

Girls can be anything they want to be.

After instilling in me that there was no limit to my future goals, she finally thought to ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

What I want to be - side of road

“Short”, I told her.

My Mom has since learned to ask for details before launching into a speech and I have come to terms with being taller than average.  I was a tall kid.  This is me with my cousins – one of them is older than me.

What I want to be - Winter coats

What do I want to be when I grow up now?  What’s my dream job?  To be honest, I’ve been working towards it for a little while.  I’m lucky to be working with my husband and running a small business that supports the computer needs of our clients.  I’ve always found that I have a talent with making computers useful for everyone.  Up until now, I’ve always worked in the corporate world, but it’s exciting to be able to continue to grow my own business…and work for myself.

What I want to be - Wonder Woman

…and Wonder Woman.  I still want to be Wonder Woman.

The Daily Tay
01 Oct

If I Won the Lotto…

We love a good challenge here at Make it Bittersweet, so we’re joining the #Blogtober14 Challenge with The Daily Tay and Helene in Between!  First up, Mary with that Day 1 challenge “If you won the lottery you’d”

I’ve never been much of a gambler.  However, I must admit that over the past few months while I’ve been caring for my dad as he fights off an aggressive brain cancer,  we’ve been playing the lottery and for three bucks a ticket per week, we’ve been enjoying it immensely.  Especially as we sit and imagine all of the stupendous and wondrous things we could do with ALL THAT MONEY.

Lotto Win Trees - Rainbow

My fantasies range from practical (dentist!)  to selfishly extravagant (world tour!)  to practically extravagant (apartment building where every one I love can live in luxury!) and so on..   But if I really won the lottery,  right now,  I would take my dad on a trip to the west coast of America to fulfill his dream of seeing the beautiful big trees of California!

Lotto Win Trees - Forest

We would fly to Oregon and start driving our way down south through all the Redwood National Forests, all the way down to see the Sequoia National Forest just outside of Los Angeles.  There we would take a long,  slow drive down the General’s Highway (speed limit 10 mph!) and enjoy the unbelievable sight of some of the largest trees on the planet,  including the General Sherman tree and the General Grant tree.  No trip to the Sequoia National Forest is complete without driving through the Tunnel Tree or stopping in at the forest’s museum.  We might even have a picnic at the famous Crescent Meadow,  the “gem of the Sierra” located right in the middle of the Giant’s Forest.

Lotto Win Trees - Clouds

After all that nature,  we would have to get back into the swing of city life,  so a day in Los Angeles to attend a taping of ‘The Price is Right’ would do the trick quite nicely before heading home again.

That’s my lottery fantasy!

Lotto Win Trees - Close Up

The Daily Tay
17 Sep

What’s in my Makeup Bag?

Time for a new what’s in my bag!  This time, what’s in my makeup bag.  Not that this includes all of the makeup that I own (I’m afraid to reveal that bit of information), but what’s in my basic, wear-almost-everyday makeup bag.

What's in my Makeup Bag - Everything

Obviously, I love Makeup Forever face products.  Their foundation is great and not crazy expensive.  I also like that you can layer it for full coverage or keep it super light.  I actually prefer this to a tinted moisturizer because I can keep it so sheer.

What's in my Makeup Bag - Foundation and Concealer

Makeup Forever full coverage concealer is great too.  I hate concealers that fade and this one stays put.  Bonus points:  it’s waterproof.

What's in my Makeup Bag - Everything Close up

Next, the brows!  I’m a bold brow kinda girl.  I’m currently using Anastasia Brow Wiz and some MAC Brow Shader. The MAC Brow Shader was a limited edition thing from ages ago, but when it runs out, I have already planned to go back to good old MAC Brun eye shadow.

What's in my Makeup Bag - MUFE Aqua Eyes

For my daily eye shadow, I am completely in love with Makeup Forever’s Aqua Eyes in #15.  It’s the perfect shade of taupe and stays on really well without a primer.

What's in my Makeup Bag - Close up Eyes

I’ve been using MAC Blacktrack along with the super fine MAC liner brush FOREVER for my eyeliner.   There’s a reason it’s is so crazy popular.   It works.    For mascara, I admit that I cannot help but love Dior’s Diorshow Black Out Waterproof mascara.  I’ve tried to switch, but always end up going back.  LOVE.

What's in my Makeup Bag - Taupe Blush and Dior Mascara

As you can see, my blush situation is about to run out.  Obviously, I love MAC Taupe and will probably grab a new one when this one is finally finished.  Thank God it’s not limited edition.

What's in my Makeup Bag - Everything Close up

Well, that’s it for my everyday makeup items.  They’re basic, but they work.  What’s in your everyday makeup bag?  Am I missing out on something amazing?

10 Sep

Yearly Goals – September is the new January

We’re a bit behind in our goal posts here, but September fever has bit me, so I’m jumping in with a yearly goals post!  Is it just me or is September really like the start of the new year?  Maybe it’s from years of starting the new school year in September, but I really feel like September is the new January.  Goal time.

Yearly Goals - Hot Pink Rose

1.  Get a proper desk and office space.

I had an earlier goal of getting my dining-table-office-thing organized, but my office tray is just not cutting it.  I’m still using the tray, but it’s become a bit of a dumping ground.  I need a desk of my own….and shelves!  Crazy, but it’s time.

Yearly Goals - Purple Flower

2.  Wear more of my clothing.

Since I joined my husband in running our business together, I’ve been wearing less of my nice “office” clothing.  It’s time to step up my fashion game and actually start wearing that stuff again.

Yearly Goals - Pink and Yellow rose

3.  Keep more plants and flowers around.

All of the pictures of flowers in this post are from my Mom’s garden.  My mom has two green thumbs…mine are brown.  Honestly, my husband apologizes to plants if I bring them home.  I want to start keep more plants around, even if they are cut and in a vase.   I think they really add life to a space.

Time to get moving!  Yearly goals from Mary coming soon as well.

The Nectar Collective
01 Sep

End of Summer Fun at Ribfest

It’s Labour Day long weekend here in Canada and what better way to end the summer than spending the day at Ribfest in Burlington?  Music, shopping, rides and all of the ribs and pulled pork that you can possibly eat…sounds like a fun day to us!

Ribfest - Grounds

Burlington Ribfest is the largest of the many rib festivals that are held throughout Ontario in the summer.  They take their ribs very seriously here with 20 of the best teams from across North America.   Everywhere you turn in “Ribbers Row”, someone is offering you sauce to taste and proudly displaying their various ribbing awards….oh yeah, and selling ribs.  Lots of ribs.

Ribfest - BBQ

Ribfest - Ribs

Also on the schedule?  Lots of shopping.  One cannot live on ribs alone, so in between sampling all of the delicious food, we wandered through the merchant area.  We were there with Fandangle Jewelry, so jewelry shopping was definitely on the agenda.  A girl cannot have too many sparkling things…or so we keep telling ourselves.

Ribfest - Fandangle

Ribfest - Cars

They also have lots of rides for the kids and three stages full of live music happening all day and well into the night.

Ribfest - Ferris Wheel

Ribfest - Concert

We leave here with a full belly, a bag full of goodies and lots of amazing memories!  What is everyone else doing to celebrate the last long weekend of summer?

Ribfest - Crowd

25 Aug

Velvet Underground & Weekly Goals #3

So, we went dancing – YEAH!  The Make It Bittersweet crew hit Toronto’s Velvet Underground on Saturday for some 80’s music fun at their Guilty Pleasures night.

Weekly Goals - Velvet Underground Toronto Statue

The Velvet Underground is great for those of us that are craving a night out dancing to some fun tunes.  The place is relaxed, intimate and always fun….we also made sure to follow the Velvet Underground’s strict rules.

Weekly Goals - Velvet Underground Toronto Stairs

We’re very serious about our fun here are Make It Bittersweet…and our beer.  We’re serious about that too.

Weekly Goals - Velvet Underground Toronto Beer

We both managed to complete some of our goals from last week.  Mary started to clean out her storage room and I managed to actually start cleaning out my closet – and loaded two bags full of clothing to donate!

Our goals for the upcoming week are less than exciting – we’re both planning to continue with our storage room and closet organization activities.

Weekly Goals - Velvet Underground Toronto Panic

We are also already planning our next night out for dancing!   A Duran Duran night??  We.  Are.  So.  There.

The Nectar Collective
22 Aug

What’s in My Bag? Club Essentials

In an effort to complete all of our weekly goals here at Make It Bittersweet, we’re planning to go dancing this weekend!  For me, going dancing means planning what’s going into my purse for the night…I’m all about organizing my club essentials.  It may be strange, but I love being prepared for any “emergencies” while I’m out.

Whats in My Purse Clubbing - Full Shot

This weekend, I’m planning to use my Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. (mine is Scarlet, HERE is one similar in Fuchsia.)  It’s just big enough to pack everything that you need for a night out.

Whats in My Purse Clubbing - Purse

Whats in My Purse Clubbing - Phone and Wallet

First in, my wallet and cell phone.  My wallet is actually huge, but has a cute coin pouch with a place for cards in it.  Very handy for streamlining.

I like to bring a selection of lipstick and gloss when I go out.  This is a relatively conservative three lip items…I will probably panic and throw a couple more in before I leave.  I like to have options.  I’ll also throw in my Touche Eclat, a  pressed powder compact and my Nirvana Black rollerball for touch ups.

Whats in My Purse Clubbing - Lip Stuff

My other essentials are:

– Tissues (always handy)

– Single packaged hand wipes (I hate having dirty hands and I hate it more when I can’t clean my hands)

– Gum

– An elastic band for hair emergencies

– Ear plugs (I might not use them, but I always seem to end up in the loudest places when I forget them)

Whats in My Purse Clubbing - The Useful Stuff

Ready to head out dancing!  Does anyone else find that planning for a night out is almost as much fun as the going out?   What are your club essentials?

Whats in My Purse Clubbing - Full


18 Aug

Weekly Goals #2

Weekly goal time again!  I’m happy to report back that Mary was successful in her taking of a nap…and she feels much better for it.

Weekly Goals #2 - Desk2

My goal to setup some sort of office space for myself was somewhat successful.  I did manage to get an organizational system down where my office stuff could be stowed away on a tray so that we could get our dining table back.  Still room for improvement though…and I just noticed how Hallowe’en looking it is.  Full disclosure:  I love skulls, but I should probably get a new (non-orange) candle.

Weekly Goals #2 - Desk

For the upcoming week!

1.  Mary is going to leap in and begin organizing the storage area at her place.   It’s all about small steps when taking on big projects.

2.  I’m going to go with an organizational-type goal as well and will begin cleaning out my closet in preparation for the fall season ahead.  I’ve been planning to do this all summer, so I really need to get my ass in gear and start before summer is over!

3.  Speaking of summer almost being over, I’m throwing in a goal for both of us to get out and have some fun!  Dancing is in order.  I refuse to let summer finish before we’ve had some FUN.

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