Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Travelling Christmas Tree - San Francisco

Putting up a Christmas tree is one of the most magical things you can do. In my case I like to put each ornament on in perfect sequence, stepping back to have a look after each one, inspecting to ensure the tree will be nothing less than a masterpiece. So if you are wondering, yes I like to decorate the tree as a family, however the boys watch me do the decorating and make suggestions along the way, haha.

I have to admit that as much as I love decorative trees I love putting up the travelling ornaments 100 times more. Each ornament brings back the memories from a trip that was either a work trip (for me or the Mr.), a vacation or a simple road trip. The ornaments really tell a story of our lives over the past ten years together - they show the places we have been, remind us how fortunate we are to have been there and remind us of all that we have to look forward to.

This week let's take a trip to San Francisco for #TinselTuesday.
San Francisco Christmas Ornament
The Mr. and I went to San Francisco in September of 2014 and we had nothing less than a blast! The city is so unique in its culture, its composition and its atmosphere. The city is built on 46 hills! Side Note: if you fact check this you will get different answers. We were told 46 by one of the Cable Car operators and took it as gospel - in my experience it is always the people "on the ground" that know a city the best. The point is... there are a lot of hills! No matter where you walk you are going up and down steep hills constantly! Using the Cable Cars and the trolly cars became very useful after a few days of walking the hills. Side Note 2: I am being generous... we didn't waste time walking the hills at all and went straight for the tourist attraction that is the cable cars... and LOVED it!
Golden Gate Bridge
Since I am writing this for you in the midst of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping I am going to keep my recommendations simple - here are my top 5 things to do when visiting San Francisco:

1. Go see the Golden Gate Bridge! Yes, it is totally cliché, but it really is awesome!
2. Visit Alcatraz - this was the first prison I ever toured in North America. Although far less creepy than European prisons there was a certain creepiness that went along with hearing the stories from the prisoners (via audio tour) and hearing from the tour guides around the grounds. Make sure you have enough time...this takes almost a day to do.
3. Go to a Giants game! I am not a huge baseball fa, but I LOVE baseball stadiums and the atmosphere that goes with each one. This ball park is "out of this world" amazing!
Giants Baseball
4. Enjoy dinner at Waterbar restaurant. This restaurant was recommended to me by a Public Relations college of mine from the Port of Oakland. I am so happy we listened to her! Sitting in this restaurant and watching the lights on the Bay Bridge was a fantastic way to enjoy a nice meal together.
waterbar bay bridge
5. Leave the city! Usually I would never tell you to do this since I love cities and love getting the change to enjoy a new one, but in this case it's a must. Take a day (or more...) and go see Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach at the very least. Enjoy the drive along the coastline, take in the views, enjoy some great seafood and just enjoy being a tourist in such an amazing surrounding.

Monterey canning

I narrowed down these recommendations to 5, but honestly just go to the city! Do wine tastings, try Anchor Steam beer, watch the sea lions at Fisherman's wharf and above everything else go to the Christmas store and buy a few ornaments to remember your trip by!

My shoes for that: Michael Kors Flats that are on my Christmas list :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Travelling Christmas Tree - Finland

There is no denying there are many things I love, but shoes, travel, wine and Christmas are at the top of the list! Side Note: All of these things are of course second to the Mr., my little dude, my family, God, etc... that goes without saying.
baby christmas tree

This holiday season I am thrilled to begin a Christmas Tree series of posts for #TinselTuesday where I will bring you for a tour around the globe as I show you some of the travel ornaments I have collected over the years.

For the past few years I have put up a huge Christmas tree in my tiny house. It honestly took up the entire living room... some might say it was excessive, while I felt it was absolutely perfect. the kind of tree you can only dream of having in your house with the most beautiful decorations collected over  several years until it looks just right. Then, my little dude came along. The big tree (9.5 feet tall) was ok last yer when he wasn't mobile, but this year I would be taking up all of his play area with a tree he is not supposed to touch - so, a 7.5 foot slim tree is what we went with. I thought it would look really tiny compared to the big tree (and it does), but it is the right size for our house! 

Since we went with a much smaller tree this year I didn't bother taking out all of my fancy ornaments... realistically my little dude is likely to be in the tree playing with whatever he can reach anyhow... so it was a perfect opportunity to use all of the travel ornaments the Mr. and I have collected over the years.
Finland Rein Deer Ornament
Finland was the first travel ornament I ever purchased. I went the Helsinki a few years ago now for my work. It was one of the international experiences I will never forget. Without dating myself it was before I had a smart phone and before all smart phones automatically worked everywhere in the world. In fact, I think it was the month following this trip that I got a blackberry "world" which was a HUGE deal at the time!

I landed in Helsinki alone and of course on a Sunday where not very many stores are open in European countries. I was on the search for a calling card so I could either connect to the internet or call home (which is really how all of my international trips began pre internationally functioning smart phone). In doing so I realized very quickly speaking English and French wasn't getting me very far in Finland! Eventually I found a corner store with a young person working who understood English and helped me get a calling card, in the mean time I toured basically all of "downtown" and the waterfront area of Helsinki. The walking was picturesque with beautiful scenery, amazing architecture and friendly faces.

Buying my first travel Christmas tree ornament in Finland was extremely fitting. The city had a certain Christmas feel to it and there are rein deer ornaments/decorations all over the place similar to how you see moose things in Canada. The most ironic part however was that rein deer was served at the restaurant we ate at one of the nights... although not a vegetarian I couldn't imagine eating it. It was too much like eating Rudolph for my liking.

If you ever find yourself in Helsinki here is my number one tip: Everyone will tell you to "go to the castle". You will take a small ferry and end up on an island and like me walk around aimlessly searching for the castle. Stop walking and remember reading this blog post... the island is the castle! Stop searching, look around and enjoy being in the castle everyone has been telling you about.

Stay tuned for next week to see where we end up!

My shoes for that: Finnish Lappish Boots (don't these just scream Christmas?!)
Picture from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/396035360961557301/

Monday, November 21, 2016

Shoes to build your confidence

I will never forget the first time I saw a pair of shoes with red soles.
Red Sole Shoes

Several years ago now I was planning to attend a shipping conference in Montreal. As usual, I had looked through the agenda and skimmed through the line up of speakers to 1) See if there was someone I should "meet" following their speech that might be a good business relationship or 2) See if there was anyone speaking that I would label as a "must see"/"cool person". In the shipping industry at the time there were not very many females attending these types of conferences and there were not many females that would be deemed worthy or "expert" enough to address the audience. But there was at least one. That lady was Ms. Madeleine Paquin.  

When I read Ms. Paquin's biography as provided by the conference organizers I was immediately impressed and deemed her speech as a "must see" based on what a "cool person" she had to be. At the conference I watched for her and waited impatiently to hear her speech, but here is the funny part... I don't remember a single word she said. I have no recollection of what the speech was about, whether she was part of a panel or a keynote speaker, but I do remember exactly what she wore, her mannerisms and her confidence.

Finally, I spotted her. She walked toward the stage gracefully in her all black pant suit with a white collared shirt (I assume the outfit was to fit in with the mostly all male executives...) and a pair of black stiletto heels. The red bottoms caught my eye and my attention immediately! She spoke as though she owned the place - her confidence and her extremely well articulated speech kept me mesmerized. However, like I said before, I don't recall the content - all I wanted was to be able to do that.

Naturally, my first step to speaking like a pro and having all the confidence in the world was finding out what kind of shoes these were and getting a pair. I was disappointed at first since the shoes were WAY out of my budget, but after some saving (and convincing the Mr.), he bought me a pair (with our money...lol) during a trip to Las Vegas around the same time as our first wedding anniversary. Not a bad gift right?!

These shoes, Christian Louboutin Simple Pumps (in black of course), are now at the root of my confidence. I have worn them many times, but always wear them when I am doing a presentation I am kind of nervous about or to an interview or a Board Meeting when I feel I need a little extra that day. It might sound crazy, but they work! Not very many people have ever commented or even noticed that these shoes are red on the bottom... to most they are a simple black high heeled shoe... but they make me feel like I can do anything. They are basically my form of a Supergirl cape.

All in all - find something that makes you feel the best you can be whether it's to do a presentation to a group of senior executives or attend a Baby Group for the first time. I have to say that in my case, attending Baby Group is WAY more intimidating than doing a presentation to senior executives. For whatever you situation or scenario... find the right shoes for the day, wear them with confidence and go get 'em!

"Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life."

My shoes for that: None other than Christian Louboutin Black Simple Pumps (100mm to be exact)

What shoes do you wear for a little extra confidence?!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

I am really am a blogger... thanks to BlogJam

A friend of mine from university suggested that I attend BlogJam 2016 after she was the first person to encourage me to start writing a blog a few months ago. And boy, am I ever happy I took her suggestion and made the 5 hour trek to Halifax to participate!
Jenna Blog

Friday night when thinking about what I would wear on Saturday and what I would pack for the big event on Sunday it hit me. What was I doing? Did I really have the nerve to think I fit in with this group of elite, big city bloggers in Halifax? What would I possibly wear? As all of this self doubt started to creep in my head I kept reminding myself "Jenna, you can do this. They are nice people. They invited you. Seize the opportunity." 

As I have learned (by the Mr. telling me over and over) with anything or any situation that starts to feel overwhelming, I break it down into small pieces and just start rather than thinking about it. First step - what shoes will I wear? The shoes I choose anytime I want to feel confident and need a little bit inspiration under my soles - my black Louboutin simple pumps. My outfit and hairstyle seemed obvious after I chose my shoes and suddenly I felt like I should be going to BlogJam. Like everything else, there's a shoe for that.

The event began with a tweet up on Saturday evening. Basically a meet and greet reception where you are encouraged to tweet about the event and interact with each other both "in person" and "online". I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Colleen from Curtains are Open at the event. This was an immediate check mark to add to my list for the weekend... Colleen has done so many amazing things in the blogging community - she is a true inspiration to bloggers and aspiring bloggers like me.

The official conference event began with Erica Ehm as the keynote speaker. She spoke effortlessly and left the audience with a few key messages:

  • Everyone has the opportunity to make their own luck. People aren't lucky, they work really hard for what they get.
  • ASK for what you want.
  • Slow and steady wins the race; don't take shortcuts and work really hard.
As she described how she felt after becoming a mom and the "why" behind the Yummy Mummy Club I felt as though she were telling my story. I could relate 100% with the message and now (still on my high from BlogJam and the keynote address) am scouring through the YMC website learning how to become part of the club, contribute and read from others just like me.

There were many inspiring and information sessions throughout the day but other than Erica's opening keynote address my favourite presentation was given by Heather of Laptops to Lullabies. Heather spoke about "balancing your blog". To summarize, she spoke about how it is essential to be honest in your writing, to be real and to show the real you. As a blogger you are creating content, but as Ross Simmonds spoke about earlier in the day there is more content being created now than ever before. What makes you different as a blogger is simple - it is YOU! 

I went to BlogJam hoping to learn more about being a blogger, find out if I really am a blogger and how to be a blogger. Now, I am happy to announce after blogging for several months and my new found confidence from BlogJam, I am a blogger!

My shoes for that: The shoes you wear to inspire confidence in yourself. In my case, my Louboutin black simple pumps.

Special mention to these awesome ladies from BlogJam - Thanks for inspiring me, helping me and encouraging me to be the best I can be.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ménage à Trois

Name: Ménage à Trois
Country: California, USA
Vintage: 2013
Price: $20 range

Why did I decide to try this wine? My new sister-in-law, V brought it over for us to try after she had it recommended by the "dude" at the liquor store. And, it was the first Hockey Night in Canada of the 2016/2017 NHL season... so a good excuse to have a glass or two of wine.

Would I prefer one glass or indulge in the bottle? Bottle. 

What shoes would I wear drinking this wine? I found these on pinterest and think they are the perfect combination of brown, black and classy. Ménage à trois - shoe version!

How would I describe the wine? This wine smells sour with a hint of sweet. The more you smell it the sweeter is smells actually. The taste is similar; not too sweet with a bitter aftertaste. This wine is very temperature sensitive in my opinion. It seemed the colder it was it tasted less sweet, but when it warmed up a little after being poured it became sweeter. That said, it was a great for V and I - colder for me and warmer for her.