Tag Archives: Ottawa Freelance writer

Our Living Room Reveal

25 Oct

It’s been a while since I displayed our living room! You know, ever since I became a crazy makeover wife.

It all started in the summer when I wanted a change of scenery in our home. Our white walls were enough to make anyone feel like they had been admitted. As opposed to switching around our decorations to accommodate the white walls, a friend suggested painting the walls. So we did.

I don’t have an actual ‘before’ photo as my camera decided to erase all contents from its memory card.

But you’ll remember how we decided on a colour:

Benjamin Moore Boardwalk:

Once we completed our paint job, it was time to put the room back together again.

Jamally has this beloved reclining chair that, although great, doesn’t match our room. I tried to put it in the corner:



But Jamally told me: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner!”

Following a coffee table re-finishing job, new window treatments, and purchasing a rug that didn’t smell like the dog (for now), here’s our final product:



I do find the carpet a little matchy-matchy, but I think if a few accessories that ‘pop’ are brought into the room it will complement one another well.

New window treatments include Bamboo blinds and white curtains:


And for the corner, a vase with ‘sticks’ as Jamally likes to call it:


And a few personal touches, too. The coasters with a card written by my late aunt:



As well as a framed photo of our family’s old barn in Westport. The frame is made of actually wood from the barn. A present from our uncle.



And of course, the coffee table:


It has wheels on it and has worked out well considering we eat every meal in the living room. I just need to purchase new handles.

I know this isn’t a designer’s dream living room, but I’m proud that it’s now a warm, welcoming room. Also, we did this, which is also satisfying.

I’m sure come springtime I’ll be jonesing for another room makeover. But for now, I’ll enjoy my dinner on the couch.

30 Things to do When you Turn 30

24 Oct

A Grade 3 reading competition left me in second place behind a notorious book worm. We had to log the books  we read, and while I tried my best to crack open a book at all opportune times, I just couldn’t keep up with the leading quota.

More than 20 years later, my family knows my love for reading continues, and it was evident at last night’s birthday celebration for me.



My aunt got me the book, “30 Things to do When you Turn 30”. It’s a collection of essays from well-known contributors including Paige Davis, Timothy Ferriss and Amy Powell.

I’m really excited to crack open this book, and see what insight is provided.

Here are some chapter titles:

  • Create a Screw-Up Fund
  • Go Hug Somebody
  • Go Outside your Comfort Zone
  • Kick the Caffeine Habit (pardon?)

And yes, that’s a “Simply Thai” recipe book in the background! I also got a Church Cookbook and have been told to make the Tuna Casserole dish. Apparently turning 30 makes me a cooking machine. And I can’t wait to test out some new dishes.

Today’s Question: What advice would you give to someone turning 30?

The Mouldy Bagel

13 Oct

Monday evening conversation in the kitchen:


16-year-old Boarder: Hey, is there still that mouldy bagel in the cupboard?

Jamally: Is it still there? It’s so gross!

Me: No, I threw it out on the weekend, not realizing it was there.

16-year-old Boarder: Darn! I have to do a science experiment and thought I could use the mouldy bagel!

Jamally: Oh, too bad.

Me: Wait a second. You’re both telling me you spotted this mouldy bagel in the cupboard last week? And rather than throwing it out, just left it there?

16/J: *Chuckles*

Me: That is ridiculous!

16/J: *Chuckles*

Me: *Drinks Wine*

More Positive, Less Negative

24 Jun

I just reviewed this week’s posts, and I sound kinda cranky, don’t I?!

(Don’t answer that, Jamally)

I’ve complained about my body, diet and not being able to eat tortilla chips.

Just call me Debbie Downer!

Feline AIDS: It's the number one killer of domesticated cats

For today’s post: POSITIVE REMARKS ONLY!

- Tomorrow is binge day! This means I can eat whatever I want! I’m still going to cut out dairy and see if that is what’s causing the headaches. But I do have plans to consume some sort of terribleness.

- We are heading to Jamally’s Grandmother’s 95th birthday lunch on Sunday. She’s British and makes me laugh (not because she’s British, but because she is funny).

- My bathroom got cleaned last night. I love me a clean bathroom.

- I plan to weed our back patio this weekend and set up flower boxes along with some amazing outdoor wedding gifts we now get to use!

- I’m optimistic they’ll find a cure for Feline AIDS.

Today’s Question: What’s your Positive Remark for the Day?!

Read My Shorts

11 May

On the weekend, I was on the hunt for a new pair of running shorts. After trying on a handful of shorts, I finally decided on a pair of Saucony shorts:

Gotta Love New Running Gear!


What’s that writing on the waistband, you ask?

If I flip the waistband outward to make the short shorts more short (which I won’t), and decide to sport a shorter shirt (which I won’t), this is the message runners behind me would read on the back on my shorts on race day:

Faster Than You


I would seem like such a jerkstore if fellow runners actually saw that message!

That being said, someone noted, “So on the front of the waistband does it read, “Slower Than You”, or “Trying to Catch Up”? Touche, mon ami!

If you don’t know already, I’m a Nervous Nelly when it comes to race day and my confidence levels dramatically drop when I pull up to the start line. I find this secret message a great way to make me smile and relax.

Whether fast or slow, Happy Running!

Ring that Bell!

5 May

Bells have had a lot of meaning for me over the past year, and signifies new beginnings.

For our wedding invitation, Jamally and I thought we were hilarious and printed the following response options on our RSVP cards:

___ I’ll be there with bells on!

___ I won’t be there. Heard there will be bells.

____ I won’t be there, regardless of the bell controversy.

Then, at our wedding, we tied the dinner napkins with ribbon and a bell:

My sister then had everyone ring the bells to make us kiss.

Yesterday, ringing a bell had a whole new meaning for my family. At the Queensway-Carleton Hospital in Ottawa, there sits a bell. And every patient wants to ring it. That’s because when someone rings the bell, it signifies their last chemotherapy treatment.

A very special man in my life got to ring that bell yesterday:

Our family got together last night to celebrate my dad’s last chemotherapy treatment. He told us about ringing the bell, and how a patient, in her early 30’s, started bawling when he did so, and approached him with a big hug. As always, with a hint of humour, he says, “I had no idea who she was, but she was very nice.”

My dad has always been one of my biggest supporters, and though it’s been a long year, we are very proud of him as he closes this chapter of his life.

Ring that bell!

Weekend Recap

2 May

Wow, so much has happened over the past 48 hours.

Bin Laden was killed.

Elections open today.

I met Max Keeping.

Yep, that’s right. I was doing photos for a client at the Perth Festival of Maples, and Max Keeping was there as a special guest. Nice guy, and very easy to chat with – that’s especially true when he quoted Lady Gaga. “I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.” Can’t beat that.

Some further weekend recaps moments and thoughts:

-I ran 29km yesterday, and the temps were hot, which is probably good as it helps me prepare for actual race-date temperatures. I find it amazing how, after 29km, I no longer am sore the following day. Only two more long runs left!
-A runner passed me during my run yesterday, and as I was inching my way along the road, he was pounding the pavement. “How far you going today?”, he asked me. When I told him, the look on his face was priceless. I hope it at least explained my slow pace!
-I hate it when people in Tim Horton’s Drive Thru order the entire menu, and I’m behind them.
-My friend, and bridesmaid, Charity ran her first half marathon in more than a year, following a long back injury. She PB’d at 1:53. Good job!

-Lastly, today is election day. This means two things: We must all get out to vote today, and Jamally’s schedule dramatically reduces beginning tomorrow! Yahoo!

Happy Election/Osama/Max Keeping Day!

A Royal Affair

29 Apr

Yes, I took photos from my tv!

There are definitely things within a marriage in which a husband and wife won’t agree upon – and that includes watching The Royal Wedding.

Will and Kate’s wedding took place this morning (Duh. Winning), and I set the alarm to watch the 6 a.m. wedding, which isn’t too far off my normal wake-up time anyway.

The dress. The music. The hats. I loved it even more than I expected.

When Jamally woke up, he couldn’t believe I had gotten up early to watch the ceremony, and started sassing me for it. I finally turned to him and said, “Who cares?!”. As soon as I said it, I felt like a teenager, but – unlike during my teenage years – it seemed to have worked, and he wandered off.

Royal Wedding Highlights:
-Her dress is gorgeous, and apparently cost $400,000. No big deal.
-Whenever they did a crowd shot at the wedding, all I was looking for was Victoria Beckham. They kept putting the camera on Elton John.
-I nearly died when Prince Harry said to Will, “Wait til you see her”. Adorable.
-I’m going to need a nap today. Amazing.

Happy Royal Wedding Day!

The Hardest Run of my Life

18 Apr

This weekend was spent with one special man in my life: my 20-month-0ld nephew. With his parents taking a well deserved trip, they trusted me to take him for an inclusive three-day, two night stay.

I knew I would either walk away with an extended family starting timeline or that my ovaries would be churning. In the end, I left with the satisfaction that I got to spend some one on one time with him and that I didn’t burn the house down! And maybe a bit of the ovaries churning factor came into play as well. :)

I learned a couple of things this weekend, too. Chasing after a two-year-old means you can’t really get anything else done, and you don’t really ever have a chance to eat a lot.

I didn’t realize the eating component until I was out on my run yesterday afternoon. I had increased my long, painful slow run up to 32 km this weekend. It was brutally windy outside yesterday, and was a victim to all four seasons in just one run.

First rain. Then hail. Then snow. Then sunshine.

It was the hardest run of my life. Not only did I face the harsh winds, I had to deal with the weather forecast and the fact I didn’t eat enough for my long run. It was ridiculous, and there were points in the run that I was giving it my all, and hardly moving.

So what did I do? I laughed.

After the first few km, I reacted with frustration, but knew that attitude wouldn’t get me far. So my mantra was “this is your test, this is your test. You can get a beer after this run. This is your test.”

I finished with an ugly hobble and had an ice bath with tea in hand. I followed it up with a beer and a spaghetti dinner at my parents’ place. What a great reward for such a hard run.

This morning I woke up with not only aches and pains, but a sore throat, too. I’m sure the changing weather didn’t help my immune system at all.

So here I am, drinking my PC Pomegranate Green Tea, with the high hopes this sore throat will disappear!

The best part about the end of my runs is that Jamally asks me each and every time, “How was your run?”. Whether or not he wants to listen, he is so good to ask me, allowing me to vent or brag about the most recent run. Now if only I could convince him to massage my sore feet!

Side Note: The house across the street from us is going up for auction tonight at 6 p.m. It’s been in the works for three weeks, and I’ve watched people from my office window (I can see them from the desk, I’m not crazy!), come visit and tour the house. I have been so excited to see how many people come to tonight’s auction. This morning I forgot I was covering an assignment and will miss the big event. I guess we’ll have to wait and see who moves in!

The Gregory Brothers & Our Twisted Humour

15 Apr

Part of what makes Jamally and I click is our shared love of odd humour. We love it when we come across something we both find hilarious and for days following, we often quote lines from the video, skit, comedy routine, podcast, etc.

We have come across The Gregory Brothers, and you most likely know them for the Bed Intruder Song. They are a family well-known for auto tuning songs based on news stories, and have received millions of YouTube hits. Our favourite Gregory Brothers song is called, “Backin’ Up”, and at sporadic times, one of us will just start Backin’ Up, and the other immediately knows what’s going on. You have to watch it to appreciate it (this is where Jamally and I often get into trouble: we find it hilarious, I share it with others, and get blank stares in return). Enjoy!

In order to fully appreciate the hilarity, please first watch this news video from KMBC, a Kansas City CBS Station :

And here is the Gregory Brothers’ rendition of what happened:

And if you’re a Charlie Sheen Fan:

My favourite Lines:
“I’m on a drug called Charlie Sheen”
“Are you bi-polar? I’m bi-winning”

Happy Friday!!!


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