Monday, 30 March 2009

Suzie Q,…Suzie who are you?

Who is Suzie? Suzie Orman that is. Or is it Susie? Who knows? Maybe Suze? I can’t keep track. All I know is, I would rather be locked in a cell with Oprah and her partner Gail, then listen to your financial advice. As some of you may know, Suze Orman is a regular guest on Oprah, CNN, etc who preaches to people about finances in these difficult times. I am pretty sure it was Suze who got most of these people into a sinkhole in the first place. Ms. Orman doesn’t really invest in the stock market, and has millions of dollars in book revenues in the bank. So who is she to tell me where to put my money? She is about as reliable as my 4 year old cousin and his game of ene mini miny mo.

I realize America and many other nations are in dire straits. We are begging for advice and for a way out of this mess. Where were all these financial advisers when things were good? Very few of these so called experts predicted the downturn. And now they want us to listen to them? They are profiting from this downturn just like Halliburton did from 9/11 and the Iraq war. If you really want to think about it..its appalling that authors and other experts are profiting from the average citizen who is just trying to find hope in a dismal situation.

My yourself. In this world, you are alone. Use your common sense. If you have debt, pay it off. Take advantage of every opportunity to save. If you can risk a little, play the market. Your own research and numbers don’t lie. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Some of the greatest millionaires and billionaires were made out of the last depression. I don’t think any of them were listening to the likes of Suze Orman. They started small and green, just like us…

Friday, 27 March 2009

Angry Annie & The Rain

I’ve been living in the UK for over 2 years now (actually come to think of it, it’s almost 3 now! Wow time flies). London has a (bad) reputation for being one of the rainiest cities in the world – it sure feels like it most days! But a quick search on BBC weather would prove this theory to be incorrect. Don’t believe me? Let’s compare London vs Toronto. See I told you so. I couldn’t believe it either. As the UK is such a small island (in the Atlantic) the air is naturally more moist than larger country and cities found inland (ie. Toronto) My hair was really affected (and still is I guess) when I first moved here – it couldn’t be tamed, no straightener, comb/brush or hair product would relieve it of it’s frizz! Horrible, I didn’t even know you could have that many bad hair days in a year. I even had a friend come to visit who gave up after a few days – it’s that bad for people who have naturally wavy hair.

I’ve become a little wiser in my veteran years of living here and have come to terms with the different (b/c there are many) levels of rainfalls experienced by Britons all the time and how to deal with it. Let me explain:

–consists of fast little drops that are very deceiving – it’s doesn’t warrant an umbrella (you just end up looking silly, but oh how you want to use it!) but if you’re not covered you’ll get wet. Quickly. It occurs mostly during fall and spring. Solution: Instead of an umbrella I wear a hat so my hair maintains it’s style and remains dry.

– consists of large drops falling at a normal pace. This is your typical (not very exciting) rainfall. Solution: Use your umbrella close to your head – it really sucks sharing an umbrella with someone. Am I the only one who thinks this? Even though I complain every time I share one with my bf we still continue to do so….

Heavy – consists of large drops falling fast. I try to avoid this as best I can as it’s usually windy here as well ; which results in the awkward inside out umbrella and me getting wet. Solution: hat & umbrella (and a lot of hairspray!). Trust me you’ll need both

– Abundant drops, falling hard and fast. Oh this is my favourite (not!) you literally need to say inside until it clears…that is of course unless you prefer getting wet, then by all means. I’ve spend a many lunches waiting for the rain to stop so I could grab my lunch.

The worst part about the rain here is that it seems to rain most days right around lunchtime like clockworks. It’s mad!

What are you solutions for fighting the rain?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Recipes Yo Mamma Never Told You About: Breakfast Smoothie

As the weather warms up, thoughts of ice-cream and other cool treats begin to enter my mind. Here is something to make on a Sunday morning (especially if you are extra tired/hungover). Guaranteed to not disappoint:

Yogurt Smoothie
  • 1 mango, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup plain Balkan yogurt
  • 1/3 cup honey

Non-Dairy Smoothie
  • 3 whole banana
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 6 whole strawberries
  • 1 cup cranberry, juice
  • 1/2 cup orange, juice

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Fading Friendships

I am 26. I have about 12 close friends that I know very well and would do anything for. That doesn’t sound that bad..does it? Well it feels bad. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I can’t remember the last time I called any of them up randomly for no reason. I see them as much as time permits. I feel like they are involved in my life. Yet, I don’t really call them up out of nowhere on the phone. When I was younger, I had tons of friends that I would call/see on a regular basis. Am I just too busy? Or has technology replaced everyday friendship? Instead of calling/visiting most people, I facebook or text them until we have time to meet. It’s more convenient that way for sure. But is it healthy? No matter how much I message people, it still doesn’t replace the connection of a phone call or a visit. Weeks can go buy when I realize I haven’t really talked to any of my friends. Everyday living and work just takes up most of my time. It takes a real effort to call a friend or to drop by sometime. When is the last time you have done it? I am guilty…but not for long. After all, most times all I need is a really good friend.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Wee Fitter? Update

Just a quick update ladies: I first tried my Wii Fit on Dec 29, 2008. As of March 14, 2008, I have had Wii Fit for 75 days and have logged 48 hours of fitness. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use the game when I was away for business meetings, so I am a tad behind. I have lost 10 pounds since Dec 29/08. I have hit a bit of a standstill though. I haven’t lost a pound since mid February..but here’s hoping. Anything is better than sitting on the couch wishing I hadn’t skipped the gym this morning.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Taking Back Your Lunch Break

I don’t know about you but I spend a lot of time at my desk (especially when it’s cold out). You see our office doesn’t have a proper kitchen, it’s about the size of a closet, and doesn’t have seating (oh how I miss my old office with the nice big kitchen and company gatherings to gossip during lunch…..oh boo! Don't fret, I’ll be okay. I think). As someone who brings in her lunch to work there’s no escape for me. Going out for no reason can be dangerous - Regent Street with lots of lovely shops is just outside (right there!) and my wallet is bound to suffer. I’ve decided it’s time to claim back my lunch hour and do something productive – not for the company but for myself.

On nice days:
  • Nothing beats reading a novel/magazine in a nearby Park.
  • Explore your working area – find a route online or create your own at
  • Go for a run/rollerblade – I guess this only works if you have a shower at your office
On not so nice days (ie. the dreaded winter months)
  • Listen to university lectures – you can download loads of Podcasts from reputable universities across the world.
  • Plan a trip somewhere warmer
  • Join a gym – the options are endless. Loads of classes are usually scheduled during the lunch hour or take a friend and play squash/tennis.
  • Learn a new language – Rosetta Stone is a great tool to learn a new language as it combines written material with audio.
  • Write a blog!
What do you do during your lunch hour?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Building On Your Strengths

If you have had an annual review before, or work in a corporation, then you probably have been asked before about your strengths. What are you good at? Where are you going? What have you accomplished? How can you contribute to the organization?

Blah blah blah …right? Yes. Until now. Admit it; at least one part of you yearns to know what your assets are and what job is right for you. Enter Strengths Finder 2.0.
This website/book can help you identify your top 5 strengths and teach you to build on them. Clifton strategies (the book creator) don’t see the point in you developing your weaknesses. Why not pinpoint your strengths and develop them…that’s what you were put on this earth to do after all.

Go to and order the book: Strengths Finder 2.0 and use the one time access code in the back to do the 30 minute online test at You will learn about your strengths and be able to brag to your boss about your future in your company.

My top 5 were: Individualization, Futuristic, Input, Learner and Activator. What were yours?

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Fragrance Consultation: Review

A few weeks ago I had a fragrance consultation at Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie in Harrods. I’m not the overindulging type but this, this was money well spent (not mine exactly. The consultation was given to me a xmas gift). After a little confusion as to where exactly it was on the 5th floor I found myself sitting at the most pleasant of tables in a quiet room, surrounded by pillows and fragrance bottles. Let the journey begin; I was keen to find my ‘signature’ scent. The consultation evaluates your perceptions and preferences based on a few specifically designed questions by Roja Dove himself. For those of you (like myself beforehand) who don’t know who Roja Dove is; he is ‘considered the world’s leading fragrance authority’ and is the sole ‘Professeur de parfums’; in short, I was in very good hands. After the quiz it was time to get cracking, clear your nose and get smelling. I was given fragrance samples (all branding/names were hidden from me so I couldn’t be bias) and had to eliminate them down to 2 – this was extremely hard! My expert was very quick to throw out the scents that didn’t make the cut but as he was controlling which ones I would get next I couldn’t risk the possibility of discarding a possible goodie. So I asked for a side panel for the ‘maybes’ this was embraced nicely and we were able to continue (phew!). When I finally narrowed it down to 2, it then took me a further 15 minutes to determine which one smelt better on me……

I found it and now I smell lovely! Not that I didn’t before mind you but this is something I never would have found on my own. The whole experience was very educational (as you learn about top notes and undertones), a bit glam and fun. I’d highly recommend going to a fragrance consultation if you’re bored with your current scent and you’re like me and get overwhelmed will all the possibilities or you’re looking for a change. For the amount of time and effort we spend on our wardrobe to reflect our personalities we should at least be wearing something that also compliments it through scent.

What? Did you expect me tell you what perfume I bought? Yah right, I’ll never tell – it’s mine! Ha ha.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Complainer's Corner

A friend of mine did her entire MBA project on Complaining. She had a point. After all, as I have said before, customer oriented companies are the way of the future. Our greedy ways have allowed us to demand multiple companies in single industries, thereby increasing competition. The economy is now in a downturn, and the companies that are hungry…hungry for customer satisfaction, will stay alive.

Transat Distribution, owner of Nolitours, Transat Holidays and Air Transat, is still learning this valuable lesson. I took my complaint (over a holiday in Mexico with half of the amenities promised, and power/water outages etc) to their customer service department. Like most companies that you complain to, I received a very simple standardized letter APOLOGIZING for my troubles. Sparing you all the details, I assure you, my experience in Mexico, was a bit more troubling and should receive more than a standard response. I asked to speak to their superior/manager and was never contacted again.

Most people don’t have the time to complain to a company about their dissatisfaction. Luckily, I do. I also had the time to Expresspost a nice letter to Transat’s CEO. I wasn’t hoping for much, just wanted to gauge Transat’s commitment to their customer base. I received a $200 voucher in the mail last week along with another apology letter. This was a nice attempt; however, I made it clear I wasn’t ever going to travel with them again. So why did they stick me with a $200 voucher…grrr. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth I guess? Right?

My sense of entitlement tells me that THEY should be doing a lot more. Maybe I am just being greedy. Or maybe Transat hasn’t felt the economic crunch. Their final quarter of 2008 was a very profitable one. They might not be so lucky in 2009. A company that knows how important each and every client is: Sunwing. I should know, I am their newest customer.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Chocolate Challenge

Everyone loves a good challenge. I’m currently ‘trying’ to train for a half-marathon. Um no, no I haven’t signed up for it yet. But I will. I really want to. It’s just signing up is so. So final. And well….I’m a little scared. What if I can’t ACTUALLY run it? I get tired just running 3km on the treadmill. Maybe I should first do a 10km run. Yes, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll aim for something that’s achievable.

If you’re looking for someone who’s actually set herself a challenge – in the same vain as Morgan Spurlock in ‘Super Size Me’ or the Subway Diet – look no further than All That’s Pretty…. A good friend of mine has started the ‘Chocolate Challenge’. The task is simple: eat a different chocolate bar daily for a month and write about it. Among the bites she writes about the packaging, first impressions, smile factor and shares great fun facts. Now’s your chance to get her to try any chocolate bar you’ve been dying to try but just never got around to (is that even possible?) – hurry because she’s only doing it for a month.

In honour of this challenge I am now going to enjoy a Daim (similar to Score in Canada) ‘a crunchy butter almond bar covered in milk chocolate that originated in Sweden in 1953, produced by the Swedish company Marabou.’

What’s your favourite chocolate bar? Mine’s Oh Henry without a doubt – it’s the perfect mixture peanuts, chocolate and chewy caramel …. Oh I need to make a trip to the Canadian shop on my way home.

Have a great weekend folks

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

DIY Projects

This past weekend I worked on something that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. Do you ever get the urge to start projects (or as I like to call them ‘school’ projects, they remind of elementary school. In a good way!) but never get around to actually starting them? Well I did mine and couldn’t be more happy. You see I really enjoy cooking, nothing too complicated or hard (hence our recipe segment featuring easy BUT delicious ones) that my boyfriend ended up getting me a subscription to Olive Magazine…last year! The magazine itself is amazing, filled with loads of meal ideas, recipes and tips. But after nearly a year and half (and counting) I have a pile of magazines that I never touch. I needed to act. Fast. My good friend got me started (thanks for the bday gift Anne) and gave me a stationary recipe book. And I finally got to do it, I needed a relaxing day anyway as I’ve been go, go, go for nearly 3 weeks straight, that on Saturday I sat in front of the TV (in bed, at the kitchen counter…) and went through nearly half of them cutting out recipes that I’d actually use (this is the key, you want something in the end that’s actually useful). It’s by no means done but now I can easily maintain it. It felt great after and I used it right away…nothing beats the sense of accomplishment. If you’re like me and have recipes all over the place here are some tips:
  1. Buy either a binder, dividers and paper or a stationary recipe book
  2. Compile your favourite recipes and/or ones you’re definitely going to use
  3. Create segments – mine came with premade dividers (which was fine by me as they were perfect): Starters, Meat, Fish, Vegetables, Baking, Desserts. I’d recommend a Drinks sections as well or dividing them up by main product.
  4. Try to fit as many as you can on one page without over lapping/crowding (to save space…)
  5. If you’re messy or want to preserve your ‘sheet’ of recipes it might be a good idea to place then in a plastic sheet.
  6. Use it once a week
Have you done a DIY project recently? Let us know about it.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Email = Coke addiction

How many times do you check your email daily? Some experts say we should check our email twice a day, once at 12 and once at 4. Are you kidding me? Clearly this “expert” never owned a Blackberry OR they didn’t slave away in front of a computer all day desperate for something new.

Seriously though? How many times? Too scared to admit it? Ok..I say I am at about 5 and worst of all I don’t even work NEAR a computer…isn’t that disgusting?

Is this any worse than a coke addiction or a porn fetish? Maybe not but it is definitely an addiction, so stop it. NOW!

Sorry but you aren’t THAT important and neither is the person who sent you that email...unless its Obama, don’t keep your president waiting.