2014 in Review



I've turned a quarter century old this year, and I've learned quite a few things about myself and my life. I thought as my review for the year, I would share some of those things with you! So in no particular order...

I value learning and personal development above many things. I completed the CGA program over the summer - every time I say that it didn't seem so bad in retrospect, Mike reminds me that it took me many tears and table flips to get there. Since I'm clearly missing school, Mike and I have also been taking Japanese classes (in preparation for our upcoming trip in 2015!), and we're looking into completing our MBAs online. I am very lucky to work at a university that supports continual growth and have a supportive husband who holds the same values.

I am fiercely competitive. Okay, so most of the people around me already knew this about me, but I think it was in this past year that I really pointed that out to myself. While I think in some scenarios this can be a great thing, it's probably something I can rein back a bit in other instances.

Video games weren't such a waste of time after all. It was something I've been feeling for a while, but it wasn't put into words until I had a few conversations with friends and found people who agree. Video games taught me that if you want to achieve something, you have to work hard at it. Losing a game once (or twice or even three times) doesn't mean you'll never win. They taught me that even though I like doing things on my own, sometimes it's just easier to work in a team. Video games taught me that if one method doesn't work, sometimes you have to look at situations from a new perspective. Basically, what I'm saying is... Mike, we should get a PS4 (wink wink nudge nudge).

With perseverance, I can still surprise myself. It wasn't really a resolution, but in January I began training for the Sun Run and going to the gym during lunchtimes. This was way out of my comfort zone, as PE had always been my most-dreaded subject in high school. However, I finished the Sun Run and actually surprised myself when I realized I was really enjoying going to the gym every day. The physical improvements, though not my main motivator, are sure a bonus.

My mom was right. I must be getting old, because I'm finally understanding some of the things my mom told me that I didn't before. Silly example... Mike and I like to eat out (okay, mostly me), and sometimes we go for cheap Chinese food. My mom always told me it was stupid to order the cream of corn with fish on rice option because it's so easy to make at home. I can't believe it took me this long to realize what she meant - I mean, I've been doing groceries but I guess I've picked up a bit more cooking, and it finally clicked this year how easy it was. Another example... I was looking in our cupboards the other day, and I realized why my mom always insisted on lining the drawers before we started using them (they're pretty gross). I'm still too lazy to do anything about it, but maybe when I'm older, I'll get around to it.

I'm looking forward to learning more about myself in the new year, and I intend to have fun while doing it! Happy New Year, everyone! Oh, and give Derry some double-tap love on instagram!

Voting Day!



Today is the Vancouver municipal election! When I was younger, I did not appreciate the right to vote, and thought it was an uncool thing to do. Fortunately, I have grown out of that, and I've realized how great democracy is, because I get to have my say (which of course is... add more dog parks!) Also, reading profiles can be very amusing...



I got a little carried away with the photo-taking while Derry was cuddling with my sweater, so here are a couple sneak peeks at photos coming soon to Derry's instagram page (go follow and give him some double-tap love!)

A Hockey Wedding and Birthdays on Vespas



This month, Mike and I went to a wedding of his old schoolmate's. I love making wedding cards, because I can really focus on something that makes the couple so unique. In this case, Jen and Gary are avid Canucks fans, and I wanted to bring that part to life so the card above was born! Congrats again!

September also happens to be a busy month for birthdays. I got a little carried away with one of the Vespa image cuts, so I'm seeing double this month! The one on the left is for my co-worker, who happens to be Italian and I wanted to bring her a bit of Italy through colour scheme. On the right is one for my dear friend Megan, who is of course, super classy, and would look just so refined on a Vespa. In pink. <3

A Mickey Mouse Wedding



Congratulations to my awesome friends, James and Anna, who got married yesterday! Since he originally proposed with a Mickey Mouse ring, I thought it would only be appropriate to make a card for them that was inspired by the famous Disney couple. Turns out the wedding was heavily Mickey Mouse themed, from married couple hats, to silhouettes in the bouquet, to the gorgeous wedding cake topper - I loved all the details!


Photo by Andy Tsai

Lisbon



Getting to Lisbon required an overnight train from Madrid, so it was a first experience for us! The quarters were extremely spacious, as you can tell from the photos (we basically didn't have anywhere to walk once the luggage was in the cabin). We also had a ensuite shower on the way back so that we wouldn't be smelly on the plane, which was much fun at 300 km/hr. Anyway, we survived to tell the tale.



We started our adventure in Belém, a half hour tram ride away from the downtown core. The above picture shows Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), which stands by the ocean and is a celebration of the Portugese Age of Discovery, which led to a global mapping of the world.



Two of the main attractions were the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower (above), both UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Belém Tower was built as a defense system and ceremonial gateway to the city. Inside, we found some great views, as well as some claustrophobia-inducing niches.



A trek up a mountain brought us to the eerily empty Palácio Nacional da Ajuda (Ajuda National Palace). Seemingly forgotten by tourists, the palace was filled room after room with untouched furniture and exquisite art. Some of the rooms were in decay, and the silence of the building makes it seem almost haunted.



Back in the city's core, we learned that tour tips weren't joking around when they noted that Lisbon is a very hilly city. We got quite the workout from trying to navigate the maze of back-alley streets. There are many districts, such as the festive Bairro Alto pictured above.



The benefit to walking up numerous hills is the fantastic view from the top. From the above photo, you can see Castelo de São Jorge on the hill on the left, and the Vasco da Gama bridge on the horizon. Lisbon is famous for the red rooftops on their buildings.



The best part of Lisbon was the food - the Portuguese sure know how to use butter! I fell in love with pastéis de nata, their egg tart pastries - and I would greatly appreciate a tip on where to get these in Vancouver!