The commute life

I’ve been working in my new role long enough now to have settled on a commute path that suits me. It may not be the quickest or most direct or even make sense to anyone else, but it is mine and I actually like it.

It took a few tries, different routes researched before attempted, then attempted and disliked, and attempted again, and again and then finally – I found the one that worked for me.

While taking the most straightforward route down the 401, eventually linking up to Hwy 85 into St. Jacobs can once in a blue moon shave 10-15 min off of my drive, this route means almost always being stuck traffic, surrounded by people I have noticed that do not pay nearly enough attention to the driving of the car and much more attention to the phone in the car, which means higher frustration levels.

textingdriving

It also means being in the car anywhere between 35 and 75 minutes depending on which lane is blocked by which obstruction and which areas are inexplicably jammed up. I took this route on my way in on my first day. This was also the last. I attempted the return route along the same roads, but didn’t make it past two exits before I bailed and began cutting across roads I assumed led me home.

They did.

I made it my mission to find a route that I could live with until our office relocates at some point this year – of the locations being reviewed by my boss and myself both put me well within 20 min from home, which would be a welcomed change.

When I finally did find my route, it meant taking just over 45 min to get to and from work. With the exception of getting into town to get to my neighbourhood which is so (not) conveniently placed in the middle of town, the meat of my time is spent on country roads. Leaving the city and accompanying traffic that seems to be outgrowing said city behind has translated into a peaceful, wonderfully paced drive that is keeping me sane… well for the most part.

I’ve taken note of a few common occurrences along my drive and I just want to be sure I am not alone in:

Conversing with other drivers – not to their knowledge of course: By this I mean sometimes thanking them. Usually for using their signal, finding the speed limit and maybe even taking a bit of a risk by pushing it, or finally being able to pass that tractor/horse and buggy that may be causing a small slowdown. Sometimes if I am super happy for them, I will applaud their achievement by literally applauding them. I hope they know it’s meant sincerely and from the heart. These drivers understand the point of taking the back roads and don’t mess around – I really appreciate you.

turnsignal

Conversing with other drivers – to their knowledge: My route is usually very peaceful and provides me with more patience then I normally posses when too many not so bright people gather in one spot in their vehicles on the highway. That is not to say though that I still don’t have my moments where I encounter the odd jack ass. Sometimes that jack ass is the person who does exactly the speed limit in the 70 and 80 km zones, REFUSING to give 10 or 15 over, but then flies through the 50 and 40 km zones pushing 80 through the handful of little towns I pass through, as if that is the only speed their vehicle is capable of. These people usually are conversed with through the use of my horn and maybe even a good lipping off to…from the safety of my own vehicle of course. The other type of jackass that I have encountered is the one that cannot for the life of them keep their speed and meander in a +/- 20 km range around the speed limit causing the worlds most frustrating conga line of cars that cannot pass because in 5 minutes, he’ll be riding up your butt because he a) has no control or understanding of the mechanics of his vehicle or b) is not paying fucking attention.

asshole

Celebrating the wins: When I hit all the green lights heading out of town, or two slower trucks split at a light turning left and right leaving the through way free for me to zip down, or when my chosen 8tracks playlist of the day KILLS it and gets me right in the feels for my mood of the day – I celebrate. A celebration can be any of the following: clapping, “whoo”ing or “yay”ing, raising the roof, or break out into a little dance. Which leads me to…

Car dancing: As you well know, Jacqui and I are professional car dancers and take this role very seriously. To aid in my car dancing career and deep love for music, my 4Runner is equipped with a competition quality sound system including sub and amp (yes, I am one of those people – and no, I do not care what you think when you see me rollin’ as you be hatin’). When Michael first told me his intent for the equipment was to be in my daily driver, I really wasn’t pumped about it…but now that I have it, I don’t know if I could live without it. I am no gangster by any means though. My choice of music ranges from good hip-hop like Jurassic5, A Tribe Called Quest or Shad, to contemporary piano, country, indie, electronic/chill wave and everything in between as I don’t discriminate – but I digress. The point being that I not only get in more car dancing because the length of my journey being increased, but also because with less traffic and wider, more open roads, one can feel that much more comfortable busting out their best moves. My abs thank me, I can tell.

Making Friends: Travelling the same route everyday has its little perks of familiarity and while I normally find routine monotonous and deadly, these ones seem to bring me a little bit of happy. I now know based on a few key vehicles that I see every day if I, or they, are running late or are on time. In addition I have made friends with a Great Blue Heron that flies over my truck’s sunroof on the daily at the same time, in the same spot by the river – his name is Henry and he is an incredibly majestic creature. There is also a very sweet construction crew that has been working on the road in one of the small towns I pass through for quite a few weeks – we’ve become such good friends that when they see me coming they will extend the slow sign for the reduced lane a few moments more to make sure I can sneak through before making my lane come to a stop, which always makes me smile.

On top of all of these wonderful things that may happen at some point on my drive, the bit of extra time at a reasonable pace has given me a lot of time alone to think – which my inner-introvert loves – or not think and take in my surroundings. Enjoying my commute has made the transition back into the working world even easier and I’m so thankful for this simple luxury. And to all of the hardcore commuters who have to deal with Toronto/401 traffic, and public transportation, my gratitude for my commute is present and the magnitude of this blessing is not lost on me – I promise.

~ Toni

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The second annual Julia awards

Last night (and this morning) the Oscars took up my living room and our Twitter feed and my dining room table:

SO. MUCH. FOOD. And yes...those strawberries are wearing tuxedos. It is the Oscars, after all.

SO. MUCH. FOOD. And yes…those strawberries are wearing tuxedos. It is the Oscars, after all.

It was lovely…and LONG. I don’t know why this year felt sooooo long…or soooooo snoozy…I’m going to go with it’s because I’m getting old.

This year, the Oscars were hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, a funny, engaging guy. The trouble? He’s no Ellen. Or Tina and Amy. Or Seth. NPH is…witty. And zingy. And the night is long and I loved the bits, but he just wasn’t my favourite.

I will tell you what my favourite was, though! Hanging out with awesome ladies, gossiping and laughing, and eating and eating and eating. Having an Oscar party is pretty damn amazing – there’s a room full of ladies who get my gossipy obsession, who can out-trivia me and back me up on dress judgments and Spanx guessing. It’s dreamy. And lovely. And there’s tons of food and comfy clothes.

I know they look demonic, but I swear they're really nice (and I have no idea how to use a photo editor...)

I know they look demonic, but I swear they’re really nice (and I have no idea how to use a photo editor…)

And now, without further ado (unlike the end of the Oscars where NPH stuck YET ANOTHER BIT), here are my picks for last night’s BEST:

Best Dressed

All the ladies, both demonic and non-, agreed: who on earth would be best dressed? There was no clear front-runner for any of us. But, I’ve come up with my favourite of the night:

Jessi Cruikshank of the Canadian eTalk team was stunning in this muted gown. When I saw her on my Twitter feed, I immediately wrote her name down as a contender.

And my runner-up was Naomi Watts. She was stunning in this peek-a-boo dress, that showed flawless skin and toned torso. I’m also a sucker for tiny, tiny spaghettini straps…because I’ll never be able to wear them.

Naomi_Watts

Best Speech

For me, it was a 3-way tie:

Mr. Pawel Pawlikowski, the Polish director who won Best Foreign Language Film for Ida. He spoke so long, he was cued off with the music…but then, he refused to budge. And he didn’t. He just kept talking. Until the music STOPPED and he was given MORE TIME. Finally, the music started up again..and he did eventually leave the stage. But it was awesome – you work your whole life for the top accolade. Why on EARTH would you ever leave the stage before you’re ready once you’ve achieved it?

Pawel Pawlikowski

J.K. Simmons, who won Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash. He told everyone that if their parents are alive, to call them. Not text, not email, CALL them. Pick up the phone and talk. I love J.K. Simmons.

87th Annual Academy Awards - Show

And our third winner, Graham Moore, who won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game. In his speech he not only honoured the subject of his movie, the late Alan Turing, he also talked about his battle with depression and his attempted suicide at 16. His best advice was to the kid that thought they were too weird, too different: “Stay weird. Stay different. And when it’s your turn to stand on this stage, pass the message along.”

Graham Moore

Best Underwear

Yep. There was underwear. And all we can say is, Mazel Tov, David Burtka, Mazel Tov.

WOWZA

WOWZA

Best Irony

Or worst…because REALLY? There were a lot of causes highlighted last night, and for good reason – there’s a lot we can do to fix this world – but the worst one was Patricia Arquette standing up for equal pay for women after winning Best Supporting Actress…and Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez emphatically agreeing with her.

Meryl-Streep J-Lo gif

The cause is real. But beyond making more money than most of us will ever see, what are these women doing for the “women of America”? Because all I can see are rich ladies demanding equality in a world where equality is a joke.

Best Not-So-Veiled-We-Were-Snubbed

Before, it was Ben Affleck accepting the Oscar for Best Picture in 2013 with his “You can’t hold grudges” bit in his acceptance speech acknowledging his perceived Best Director nomination snub. This year? It was all about Selma all the time.

Terrence Howard took his presenting job as the chance to highlight the emotion behind the movie Selma, to highlight the fact that it wasn’t nominated, although it did overwhelm him.

Terrence-Howard-467

Some say it was a teleprompter problem. Others wonder if he was drunk. I’m going with, Selma wasn’t nominated for anything but Best Song and Best Picture and this was his chance to make it shine. What do you think?

Best Joke

Last year John Travolta just couldn’t get Idina Menzel’s name right. It came out Adele Dazeem…which isn’t even CLOSE. So this year, I vote the use of the John Travolta Name Generator as best joke. (It wouldn’t let me embed the video, so here is the link.)

Ben Affleck pronounced as Benedict Cumberbatch?? Awesome.

Best Creepy Moment(s)

All of John Travolta’s. No seriously.

With Scarlett Johansson.

travoltakiss3A

With Benedict Cumberbatch.

John Travolta and Benedict Cumberbatch

With Idina Menzel.

john-travolta-idina-menzel-lg

Creeeeeeeepy.

Best SHOCKER

Ummm…Lady Gaga can SING. And as everyone on Twitter pointed out, she kicked Carrie Underwood’s ASS.

lady-gaga-oscars-sound-of-music-2015-billboard-650

And the last award of the night…Best WIN Face

It has to be Eddie Redmayne, because how can you argue with JOY like this:

eddie-redmayne-was-absolutely-shocked-by-his-first-oscar-win

It was a looong show and a looong night and an early morning (hence the lateness of this post), but the people I got to hang out with, the gossip I got to rehash, and the food I got to eat all make it worth it…sort of. Now, for coffee. 🙂

~ Julia

Soundtrack for the season

I have a confession to make: I love Christmas music.

I have a playlist devoted entirely to Christmas music. When I was working, it was all that was in my MP3 player from November 1 until well into the New Year. I don’t wait until after November 11 to start it up, but I don’t feel disrespectful because it’s just for me, not for my store or my mall or my commercialism. It’s for my happiness. I am impatient until the local radio station flips over to being my “Home for the Holidays” and plays nonstop Christmas music. And on Boxing Day? December 26? When they abruptly, at 12 a.m., flip back over to complete non-Christmas music? I feel bereft, like someone pulled the plug on my drug and I’m left walking around in a kind of Christmas music hangover, where I know I’ve got my fill, yet, I still want more.

To help you firmly climb onto the Christmas music party bus, I’ve listed my top five songs of the season.

Nostalgia-filled – The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)
As kids, we only had a few Christmas tapes (yes, tapes) that were played over and over and over. Boney M., New Kids On the Block (OH, YES), The California Raisins (no, seriously), and of course, Alvin and the Chipmunks. I used to know all the lyrics to Christmas Don’t Be Late, and I’m disappointed in how far I’ve fallen. I will relearn the words. I will know it by heart again. I will not let Dave down!

Whimsy pick – I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
There’s something that I desperately wish we could have for a pet – a hippopotamus. I feel like they would overcome our allergy issue and would make a fabulous house guest. In fact, this commercial practically proves my point. Ben disagrees. But Gayla Peevey? She’s got my number. And it’s a toe-tapper as well. Win-win.

Christmas cheese – Same Old Lang Syne
There needs to be some songs that make you weep and cringe at the same time, and for me, it’s this song. I love how cheesy it is, how incredibly corny and cliched and sad and that it’s a story about a lonely Christmas Eve between two ex-lovers. It’s everything that Christmas is – beautiful, hard, achy, lovely. I unabashedly love this terrible song.

Reason for the season – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
In a past life I sang in church choirs a minimum of two times a week. Every year, we’d of course put our heart and soul into celebrating Jesus’ birth with music. This song, by this incredible group, Casting Crowns, gives me goosebumps every time I hear it and singing it? Shivers. He is the reason and this song encapsulates the feeling that surrounds Christmas.

Holy crap pick – Little Drummer Boy
Every once in a while a group of artists surprise you, fascinate you and make you sit back in awe. Pentatonix is this group for me. This song, although not one of my Christmas favourites, was the first song I heard this group sing and I immediately had to share them, watch and rewatch them and weep in gratitude when a friend gave me a copy of their first Christmas album. They are awesome. And all of the songs on their Christmas playlist are amazing. Seriously.

I hope your Christmas is merry, bright, and filled with music that only comes around once a year.

~ Julia

5 road trip essentials

While most people are busy bustling babies back to school, returning from vacations and stepping back into routine, Michael and I are off on another adventure together.

We’ve taken a week, which almost never happens due to work demands and responsibilities galore. In fact, this week off is to blame for my MIA status last week on the blog. Ramping up to take a week off for me means pre-working an additional week into the weeks leading up to any time off. It’s the nature of my industry and a downside that often has me debating if time off is even worth it in large chunks.

That is, it often has me debating until I am actually off and free to spend my hard earned time in any way I so desire.

And I usually desire some sort of road trip.

There is something so exciting about travelling to a destination and having almost total control over where you wander on the journey – whether carefully planned with every detail laid out or spontaneously throwing a few bags in the truck and see where we end up, there are only a few essential ingredients to a successful road trip:

1. Tim Hortons: It doesn’t matter if we’re heading to Toronto for the day or the cottage 8 hours away for a week, our trip must begin with a hot, steamy, caffeinated beverage known fondly as a cup of Tim Hortons coffee. This essential must have is always the very last stop for us before we leave town.

Life-juice

Life-juice

2. A good playlist: While we don’t see eye to eye about the actual road trip itself, Jacqui and I do agree that a must-pack item is good music, allowing for hours of car-dancing, singalongs and general entertainment. A good playlist is mandatory for any length of car ride, road trips especially and can take the time spent in the vehicle from a 5 to a consistent 8-10 in all around enjoyment.

3. Good company: Whether your loyal fur-bestie…

Bear <3

Bear ❤

or your handsome husband-to-be…

<3

…a good road trip companion can make or break your trip.  If you’re stuck with someone who lacks spontaneity, a sense of adventure and is a creature of comfort and routine, your road trip’s fun factor will take a severe nose dive with little chance of recovery. Finding someone whose road trip style matches yours will definitely increase your chances of a successful road trip.

4. Pee stop understanding: Michael and I have such an understanding – I respect the amount of liquid, yes even the life-juice named coffee, that I consume on a lengthy road trip, and in turn he respects when I finally cave and ask for a break for my tiny, tiny bladder. While I pride myself in my ability to manage the amount of breaks I need, compared to Michael’s camel style bladder, I’m usually the one waving the white-flag long before our journey is over.

5. Snacks: Another way to make sure you enjoy your trip is by packing the right variety and type of snacks and beverages. For lengthier drives, paninis, fruit and veggies are wise. The food available to you on the road is often fried, greasy and fatty which can cause you to become lethargic and zaps your energy levels – not to mention the number it can do on your stomach.  Stick with good, wholesome foods that travel well and pack the appropriate treats for when cravings hit so you can enjoy your time along the journey.

Our home for the week

Our home for the week

I hope this week treats you all well. For Michael and I, it will be spent camping in Charelston Lake Provincial Park, relaxing, fishing and spending a little quality time together – making sure to enjoy the destination, but more importantly, the journey.

~ Toni

Music and butts

I believe music to be an amazing powerful all encompassing being that connects us all.

I know that’s a lot to ask from something as simple as music, but it’s true. It is powerful and it is important.

Lately there is a lot of music coming out about positive body images, and in particular, butts.

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I have a large posterior. I know it, hell if you met me you would know it. I do not at all mind that I have a large butt, and I am kinda happy about some of the songs coming out about the love of large bottoms. Such as “Wiggle” by Jason Derulo.

There is one that makes me do a dance and sing along. It is called “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor.

She starts off talking about how her mom always said that it’s okay not to be a size two, and that you should be proud of who you are. It reminds me of our mom and how she thinks we are all beautiful no matter if we just got up, or are sick and slightly green.

I am working on getting more fit and healthy (slowly but surely). I don’t get to do it with my sisters, but I like working out alone, so it isn’t too bad. A big part of getting to where I want is loving my body every step of the way, from when I was my largest size and weight, to when I was at my smallest size and weight. I learn every day to still love my body. Songs about body love are a good positive pat on the back to the world from artists who don’t look like models, because let’s be honest – not everyone can look like that.

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I have not always liked my butt, or my waist, or my hips, but I am learning to love them. Especially as I start to shed them.

~ Andreah

Sisterhood Spotlight: Julia Nunes

So I have a huge love of music, and I know my sisters do too. And of course, we do not have the exact same taste of music – we each, like our personalities, are unique.

I want to share something with you, or rather someone.

One of my all time favourite singers is Julia Nunes. She is short, she is wonderful, and she makes the best music.

I have even gotten to meet this wonderful eclectic artist twice (yes it was twice in one day, but it counts!).

First meeting!!!! (Photo Curtesy of a random stranger, using Elena's Camera)

First meeting!!!! (Photo Curtesy of a random stranger, using Elena’s Camera)

 

Later on that evening, and yes, Julia Nunes is grabbing my head. (Photo Curtesy of Elena)

Later on that evening, and yes, Julia Nunes is grabbing my head. (Photo Curtesy of Elena)

I was introduced to her by one of my best friends Elena. I walked by her room one day when we lived together and she was singing along to her, and I was pretty much hooked on Julia Nunes from then on.

I wanted to introduce you to her so that you know how wonderfully weird she is, and hopefully get to love her like I do!

From songs about pizza to songs that make you less and more nostalgic all at once…

… she writes amazing, catchy songs that just make you smile, dance, and belt it out in the car.

I want to share her with you, and I want you to show her love and the proper adoration, because everyone deserves to know how wonderful they are!

~ Andreah

Perfecting the art of car dancing

I hate road trips – there I said it! Everyone is all “let’s go on a road trip!” And I am over here by myself smiling and nodding my head along with the plan…when really I want to scream, NOOOOOOOOO!

However, if we must make a voyage, there are some must-haves for a long car ride: comfy clothes, snacks, coffee/water… and tunes – GOOD tunes! When ever we make the trip to visit our dad, I seem to always be the DJ for the car, which is made up of myself, sometimes Cody if he can get the time off work/hunting, Toni and Mike.

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I tend to lean towards the 90’s, 00’s or pop/hip-hop genre because they are crowd pleasing and danceable, which is the best way to pass the time. But car dancing isn’t easy – it’s mainly hand gestures and arm movements with some head nods that are completely laughable if you are viewing them from a passing auto. If you too would like to become a pro at car dancing, then there are four main techniques you must master:

The hand pump
Much different from its cousin “the fist pump,” this movement is more car friendly! The fist pump requires unlimited space above ones head, whereas the hand pump is more of an up and down motion, with an open palm facing down. This move can be used for pop, hip-hop and R&B. I would not recommend this for rock and roll, as the biker to your right is currently looking at you as you are pumping up and down to Ozzy’s Crazy Train – you sir are the one who will need to be put on the crazy train if you don’t cut it out!

The hand pump

The hand pump… ignore Toni… she didn’t get the memo…

Two-handed seat shimmy
This is a move that takes some control and can only be mastered by the most seasoned car dancers! It can be used for most genres, but again be mindful of your surroundings! This move uses two hands and hip gyrating. Be sure if you are in the backseat you have at least one seat between you and the other passengers. For your viewing pleasure, an instructional video has been provided.

Head down groove
Step one: Let down your hair!
Step two: Close your eyes.
Step three: Raise your arms and loosen your shoulders.
Step four (the most important): Feeeeel the music!

This move requires confidence, you can’t be afraid of what others think of you! The cars passing you will think that medical attention is required, but do not fret! Just let the notes shower over you as you and the music become one.
No, but seriously, this one is the best for slower EDM and Bryan Adams songs. Shake your head and let your hair wash over your face.

All smiles while car dancing - CONFIDENCE

All smiles while car dancing – CONFIDENCE

For the final move…..

The air banjo
This is not to be confused with the air guitar, which is played at the hip, but rather played up on at the breastal region! The strumming is more aggressive, and faster. This is not a move for drivers, as both hands are required – safety first, smart ass! I find the best genre for this is country. I mean come on…. banjo…country…they kinda go hand in hand! Don’t worry if you missed arm day this week, as the the workout you get from this will be more than enough to tide you over.

There you have it – combine these moves and before you know it that three hour car ride will have come and gone in no time! Just let it hang and groove it along! You will become a pro – now if only I could figure out a way to make money off of it…

~ Jacqui

Musical motivation

Ever since I can remember there has been music in my life. My dad introduced us to Queen, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, The Tragically Hip, Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, and Metallica, while my Mom showed us The Rankin Family, Blue Rodeo, Seal and so many others.

    

 

My sisters and momma were all in the choir at our church, and still to this day music surrounds us!

I am blaming the early exposure to music for my now current obsession with musicals and music in general.

From TV shows, such as Glee, to movies (once theatre musicals) like Chicago, Rent, and Burlesque, add music and a dance number to actors like Merly Streep to express the stress of three men possibly being the father of her child!?!?!?! AMAZING! To make it even better, add some comedy and I am tickled pink!

 

In fact as I write this, Toni and I are giggling away as we watch Pitch Perfect. Seriously!
Best!
Movie!
Ever!!!!

If you have not seen it, I am allowing you to leave this blog for the hour and a half that it will take to watch it! …. I’ll wait here. Go on!

……

Okay, now that we got that out of the way, I feel you can appreciate musicals so much more. Cody also shares in my love of music, however hates that I love musicals. This may be because there is a no way to make a musical manly… even if the protagonist is shooting machine guns, while riding a great white shark, somehow adding a musical number for him or her to sing along with it would change the genre from badass to beauty queen (badass beauty queen that is)!

Not a man, but still pretty bad ass… and a little weird!

Although it’s not technically a musical, Nashville pulls at my musical heart strings. It combines my love of country music and good TV. I have been watching since the first season and tell everyone I know who also shares my love of country music about it! Like, for example, my supervisor at work. Every Thursday morning we squeal over the characters’ drama, relationships, deaths and most of all THE MUSIC!!!! I have my phone beside me as I watch to quickly Shazam any and all music that they sing in order to download it from iTunes.

 

I have music with me throughout my day, which means I pretty much live in a musical. So I asked myself what my daily routine would look like without music… My morning run would be fuelled by the song of the birds and although I do enjoy nature’s soothing sounds, somehow I don’t think I would get the same results as if I were being motivated by Beyoncé.

I sing constantly at work, whenever I am around music – my desk mates will have to agree with me. My renditions can be painful and comical but it makes the day go by faster when the sounds of the fax machine and phones are accompanied by Bruno Mars featuring yours truly.

Making dinner would be the simple sizzles of simmering sauces instead of the soothing serenading of Eric Church or Eddie Vedder.

Music makes life better. I suggest you make your life a musical. I did!

~ Jacqui

Sisterly similarities

I like thinking about similarities. Things that are the same in every family, things that are the same in friendships, finding the lines that run parallel with each other throughout everyone and everything. Some similarities I have stored and keep with me. They are the similarities that run between me and my sisters. I have noticed that we have small traits that are very similar; they are the things that keep them close in my heart when I’m having a long day, or when I’m sick and need to remember connections to home.

Jacqui and I grew up at the end, so when we were little we spent a fair bit of time together. Whether or not that was because we wanted to actually spend that time together is uncertain, especially when you have a strange younger sister like me (I am an odd one), but we have some similarities that I think are strange. We both wash dishes in the same stance. One foot is curled up and resting against the other leg in a strange way, but I noticed it at Lillian’s birthday party. It made me smile quite a bit, cause I thought I was the only one. Another one is our need to change things around – we both like reorganizing and moving our furniture around. To the outside world it may seem like we are not happy with the placement of things, but for me I just like a fresh start every once in a while, and it gives me a new timeline of memories when the furniture is placed in a certain way.

Now Toni and I have something very similar within each of us, but we deal with it in very different ways. We both have the same anger and frustration that brews inside. Toni has a better grasp on hers, and I can’t seem to actually construct coherent thoughts with mine, but sometimes when I am seething angry I think of Toni, what she would do, what I would do, and then I find a middle. Toni and I also love music. Every chance I get I listen to music, whether it is kitchen dance parties, or writing the blog post for the week, designing things or editing photos. It helps set the pace and rhythm of whatever I am doing. That and dancing is just plain fun, even if I do look ridiculous.

Julia and I have very few similarities in the way we act, and our personalities, although I looked up to Julia constantly in my formative years as a role model. A couple things I have noticed are small things. We both curl the same leg up first when we sit, and we both have a crazy array of facial expressions. That and we have been mistaken for twins, which I think is awesome.

I like keeping these small traits I share with my sisters close to me. When I’m doing my dishes, I hear Jacqui’s laugh, her amazing full-bellied laugh. When I’m dancing around, I can see Toni’s cheeky smile. When I’m reading or watching a movie or playing a video game with Joe, and I curl my leg in, I think of the movie nights past where Julia has done the same thing, squishing into the couch to get comfy.

We all have different lives, and different things that make us so wonderfully unique, but I like having the little things that remind me of my sisters, and remind me that even though we are different there are hundreds of ways we are always connected.

I love you guys, and I am missing you terribly!

~ Andreah

 

My secret ingredient

I love to move.

Staying active is one of my absolute needs; I require it to stay healthy and most of all happy.

On top of running, hiking and working out, I LOVE to dance. I blame my love for dancing on my love of and absolute need for music…or it might be that I simply cannot sit still for too long. Either way, I must dance! (Disclaimer: I have no formal training and can not be held responsible for any permanent, or disturbing  images that may be burned into your brain after witnessing said dancing.)

You will find me dancing in the morning while I get ready for my day. You will find me dancing with my nieces and nephew to any silly song that is playing. You will find me dancing in the shower…wait…scratch that – most of you will NOT find me in the shower. You will find me dancing in my truck as I drive (and no, I do not give a rat’s ass what the people who stare think – yeah, I see you!). You will find me on the dance floor at weddings until my feet hurt enough to kick off whatever ridiculous pair of heels I have chosen to wear and then continue to dance barefoot. You will find me dancing with my girls at the club on girls’ night, or even in living rooms and bedrooms as we party prep. You will find me happy dancing whenever there is good news to share. You will even find me (embarrassingly) seat dancing at a restaurant.

But my most favourite place to dance? The kitchen.

Kitchen dancing – or as my wonderful fiance has coined it, ‘T’s Making Dinner Dance Parties’ – take place in our home on a regular basis. Said fiance has often lamented that he does not understand why I always choose music over television (unless of course there is a hockey game on – then the dancing is put on the back burner…until the Habs score and the happy dancing commences…see the trend here?) as he is the master of the TV and it can usually be found on whether he is watching it or not.

Often, Michael will come home to me prepping whatever meal with music playing as I fly around the kitchen, showing off my killer dance moves to Rocky and Adrian (my two very ‘small puppies’) and often getting them to join in.

Adrian and I

Adrian and I

Rocky and I

Rocky and I

Truth be told, I absolutely believe the food tastes better if prepared while dancing, the dishes washed are somehow cleaner if I’ve busted a move (not a hip), and the house is happier with my rhythm filling the rooms.

Only outdone by a good run, dancing helps to clear my head, shift my mood, pick me up or add to an already incredible day.

I’m always looking for music that moves me, often getting lost in the worlds of SoundCloud, YouTube, 8tracks, and Hype Machine for hours. Don’t tell Michael, but if the night’s dinner is taking a little longer than usual, it’s because I have found a new artist that I can’t get enough of and pull a full on crawl for anything they have released or collaborated on.

While our fancy speaker setup (so technical) in the living room allows me to make sure our wall-sharing-neighbours LOVE us, my handsome came home from work last week with a small token of love and a sign that he fully supports my requirement to turn our kitchen into my personal dance floor – a set of little speakers for the iPad.

My adorable, yet very efficient 'kitchen speakers'

My adorable, yet very efficient ‘kitchen speakers’

While I suspect this gesture carries some underlying self-serving motive (read: I will no longer monopolize the above mentioned fancy speaker set up and main television/he’ll be able to concentrate on the chosen Xbox 360 game of the evening.), it was nonetheless sweet and of course made me break out in a saucy little dance to thank him.

My favourite kitchen dancing moments are when Michael gives into my silly ways and joins me, making simple, everyday activities into sweet, sweet memories.

Tonight when you get home from the sometimes monotonous tasks of the day, instead of settling down in front of the TV, I challenge you to throw on your favourite makes-you-move-mood-music and dance.

~ Toni