For those hot and sticky July days…

Cream Tall Maxi Skirt

My latest creative venture/distraction from the past couple of very cold months. Feels like sheer heaven over my skin. I simply cannot wait for the summer heat to weigh heavily in the air. Clearly, it does not take too much to leave me feeling all giddy and satisfied…

Sneak peak to all my lovely followers 😉 Will be ready for sale in a very short time.

But don’t worry, you will certainly be the first to know! What do you think?!

Experience trumps youth every time

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As I was perched in a very precarious position on an ancient, rusted and very wobbly ladder this weekend, I couldn’t help BUT eavesdrop on the other designers in my favourite warehouse as they were making their fabric selections, discussing their design plans, and attempting to convince each other that there is a viable market for a $200 cotton crop top “as long as it were really well constructed”…

Their silent rationalization and head-nodding to that statement was absolutely deafening.

How did I get here again?!

Suddenly, and feeling as though I had been somehow caught in the act, my breath of fresh air appeared from below to assess my rather odd position (no doubt in an attempt to get away from this strange group) and communicated his lack of patience with the fashion students through a very obvious eye roll. As he helped me down from the unstable pile of bolts that I somehow managed to find myself on yet again, I breathed a huge sigh of relief as my feet were planted firmly back on the ground – both literally and figuratively – simply because of his presence.

“What have you hidden for me today?” I asked him sweetly (score 1 point here for experience) and his eyes lit up with excitement as he whisked me off to show me the best of the best tucked away only for his favourite clients (N.B. I am not THAT naive to think that I am his only one). And despite his previous display of impatience, he is a man who clearly adores his work. I appreciate his candour. His no-nonsense approach. And most recently, our apparent bonding over blatant ageism…

It got me thinking. Despite our rather obvious difference in age (their grunge attire is reminiscent of my own youth when it was popular the first time around circa 1991), I am really no different from these young students – for they are testing their skills and limits just as I am. Yet for some reason, I still feel like I am out-of-place amongst this uber-trendy, hat-wearing crowd as they make their selections for end of semester projects. No, I do not know how to put together a coherent croquis for my professors or potential buyers. I cannot make a dress in an hour to fill a last-minute space missing in my runway show for finals. Nor do I seem to have a backpack-carrying entourage to accompany me on these strangely comforting sourcing trips…

But we do both seek to express our ideas through the same medium. We follow the same steps and framework. My path for getting here may have been very different and not as direct as theirs but here we are, both in the exact same space, trying to solve the exact same problems, faced with the exact same barriers.

“OMG – where did you find that?!” she squealed with a mix of adolescence, competition and envy as my purchases were being tabulated. And I matched her interest, excitement and obvious hand gestures perfectly and with utter ease, all while secretly thanking him with only my eyes.

Maybe we really aren’t all that different after all…

Letter writing is a dying art form

Dear Jane,

Thank you for the lovely wishes – you are in my thoughts more often than you think 🙂 I am starting early with my birthday celebrations by enjoying a glass of wine, snuggled on my couch with my boy, watching the Olympics. While I am certainly NOT happy about getting any older…I think I’m pretty lucky to be exactly where I am sitting right now 🙂

It’s been awhile since you have had an update – seems like time is passing faster than I would like… After the article was published in the Saturday Style section of the Citizen, I’ve had several more sales but more importantly, some amazing words of encouragement from total strangers. They have given me the confidence to continue – and that is exactly what I am going to do 🙂 In March, I will be starting to develop a long, flowy, silk chiffon maxi skirt for tall women – think light fabric just billowing in the wind as she/I walk by! Very excited! But as usual, I’ve needed to teach myself (yet again) on how to construct it (I can’t seem to let things go undiscovered) and so this became my #1 goal after New Year’s Day.

After (some) trial and error, I have finished my best version yet this past weekend! I’m thrilled because not only is the fabric is a little unusual but the actual construction is straight and strong – and I am so excited to wear it! Now, I have no illusions here – I still need to have them professionally constructed for the business ( I’m not exactly that quick…) but I have a good template to work with now and I know exactly what I want.

As for my writing, it seems to have hit a block lately – perhaps because I have been focusing all of my creative energy into a more tactile format…but I’m sure that it will come back to me – I enjoy it far too much to simply let it go…

Enjoy the day with your family on Friday – our guardian angel is watching us. I continue to pass by regularly to say hello and leave a little something of thanks behind 🙂

I hope all is well 🙂 Big hugs all around!
Love Alissa xo

Don’t (please) look at me

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Not only am I an enigma to some, floating away as fast as I arrived, I am also a complete contradiction. To put it rather bluntly, I am simply an introvert who is trying to be an extrovert…or wait? Am I an extrovert who is dying to be an introvert?

No wonder people are generally left confused by my presence. I am obviously giving off some mixed signals here…

Trust me, even I can’t figure it out and I happen to be an overly self-aware individual. I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs to be heard, yet covering my ears like a small child, shaking their head, begging for silence. I crave the chaos and excitement of intense crowds yet I find utter peace and comfort in the solitary cocoon that represents my home.

Yet, even when I achieve that sweet yet savoury moment, I despise the silence.

This week has allowed me the opportunity to explore these contradictions in my personality through the eyes of the media. I have been faced with such extreme examples that it has been simply impossible for me to ignore their magnitude. And through all my shrewd yet dull observations, I am left pondering:

Why do I keep trying to be something that I am not?

Resolutions for 2014

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A very special friend in my life has given me some (somewhat) unsolicited advice with intent to have me start 2014 off on the right foot. You know the type – the friend who will force you to face your inner-most demons completely out of the blue, usually over a bottle of wine, without any attempt to sugar-coat the truth, all in the name of friendship. A true gift. So, with utter nonchalance in tone, I have been advised ‘to simply suspend my disbelief’ for all the amazing things that are happening to me. ‘For they are all warranted and earned – you deserve it…’ And with that deadpan look only a true friend can give, the statement hit my core, whether I wanted to face my demons on that particular evening or not.

When I reflect back on 2013, it would seem that each time I have experienced a new event in this venture or overcome some strange challenge (that I never even imagined that I would have to face in the first place…), my reaction has always been one of awe and shock at my good fortune and dumb luck. Sheer happiness. Utter joy. Things that were once thought impossible, have become possible and I often struggle to figure out the ‘how’ while in the moment. As a result, my reflexes and instincts are becoming compromised. It’s as if everything in my mind is bright and acute with my peripheral moving in slow motion. I can’t seem to react in the same way. I’m able to both hear and see what is going on around me but not at the same time. It’s mildly surreal.

And this dissonance/happy state may be putting me at a business disadvantage.

For it is only when I have a quiet moment to sit back and process the events of the day (with a well-earned glass of wine) can I become objective. After some reflection, I begin to recall the feeling as though I am missing something but because I am on such an adrenaline high in the moment, my senses seem dull, weak and just white noise in the background. I’m simply overcome with gratitude to notice anything else. So, while I am trapped in this stunned and blind state, am I really asking all the right questions? Am I really being thorough in my analysis of the situation? Am I really protecting my interests and not allowing myself to be taken advantage of? Am I unnecessarily creating serious potholes in my path that may be making my road more bumpier than it really needs to be?

2014 will be an interesting year. I have no doubt I will continue to be amazed at the challenges, experiences and achievements which lay ahead.

But I think I need to work hard on not trying to understand the ‘how’ or ‘why’ of a situation and focus more on the ‘who’ and ‘what’ in a much more jaded fashion. The real way that I deal with everything else going on in my life…

Not all mullets are created equal

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I didn’t think it was possible for any man in this day in age to actually posses a mullet outside of Walmart. Perhaps this was why I was so shocked at its presence in the opulent and private dining room of a very expensive restaurant – it was completely out of context. You must understand here that this was not just ANY mullet, but this was the very definition of a mullet – in all of its mystical glory. I struggle now to accurately put it into words – for it can only be described as hockey hair – business in the front, party in the back – complete with soft curls falling softly down the nape of his neck. I’ve seen variations of the mullet over the years but nothing as authentic as this particular version EVER in my adult life.

And – since I happen to be the “luckiest” single woman ever – this short, stocky and poorly coiffed man was to be my dinner companion for the evening.

What can I say – the universe likes a good laugh at my expense…

Yet, to my utter surprise, he turned out to be the most interesting and intriguing person I have met in a very, very long time. A bold statement I know – but I am speaking the absolute truth. We spoke for several hours, vaguely aware of the hum from the other dinner guests, about everything from business, to politics, with everything in between. We had exceptional similarities in our life experiences, could match each other with our knowledge and analysis on most subjects yet offered the other a completely different perspective that allowed for the discussion to flow without any sense of time or quite frankly, any engagement from the other guests sitting at our table. I was so focused that I actually forgot about the existence of his mullet entirely – and it became some strange mirage in the distance…

On my way home, I found myself looking forward to our next meeting. Yet despite my warm and reflective state, I also chastised myself sternly for my earlier reaction, and needed to remind myself that appearances are just that – appearances – and MY snap judgement of an individual based simply on how they are styled is very dangerous and utterly superficial on my part. I ought to be ashamed of myself. I began to feel very guilty for my small-minded thoughts at the start of the evening, for they turned out not only to be misleading but completely inaccurate.

I’m fairly certain he knows that people quietly giggle about his appearance – how could he not. But maybe that’s why he keeps it – because despite the giggle – it also means that he becomes unforgettable.

Which makes him the most unassuming marketing genius for his business and brand. Mullet and all.

Except today…

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I have just committed my first major error in this venture.

I spoke the truth. You know the one that everybody THINKS of but never actually verbalizes because they posses a little something called tact?

Damn me and my lack of a filter between my brain and mouth. Cue the dramatic sigh and eye-roll…

I would like to point out that I accept full responsibility for putting myself in this compromising situation in the first place. HAD I done a thorough research and expressed a wild interest and a sense of enthusiasm for all the fascinating details pertaining to NAFTA and its rigorous fabric importing regulations from Canada into the United States, (all in a handy 60 page PDF document provided neatly to me via the internet by the US government), I could have avoided this rather annoying little predicament quite nicely.

But alas, this was a mere oversight on my part.

Up until my rather scary phone call from a very terse and possibly armed customs agent – (but of course he was armed. The mere fact that we were miles apart and I was nowhere near his visual range, did not make things any less stressful for me I can assure you.) – everything was moving rather smoothly. This whole venture was becoming pretty easy actually. Then I heard his mildly condescending and authoritative voice…and I immediately felt like I was at the principle’s office all over again.

He demanded to know where I had sourced my fabrics. In an effort to inject a little humour into the already tense situation, I simply replied ” I buy all my fabrics in Montreal, but I guess they probably originally came from China because doesn’t everything really come from there anyway?!” Cue the giggle.

I realize it’s not my best work. But, given the scary voice, the fact my coffee hadn’t fully kicked in, and our obvious lack of proximity to properly convey all of the necessary non-verbal accoutrements to complete the scene in my obvious attempt for wit before 9 a.m. – I think I could have done a whole lot worse…

And there it is. I told the truth. And it has cost me $80 for saying the word China.

Damn me and my sassy mouth.

In commemoration of the word “selfie”…

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Congratulations are in order for being named “word of the year” by Oxford dictionaries!

What the hell – I’ll let this one slip for all my lovely and loyal followers. I thank you all for encouraging and enabling my narcissistic tendencies.

And really, without all of you, I’d just be talking to myself…

I’m still here!

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I know what you have all been thinking over the past couple of weeks while enduring my silence and lazy re-blogging posts (I have a couple of real gems you know…) -where is she?! So, I feel the need to clarify a couple of things:

No – I have not given up.

No – I have not gotten bored with this venture.

No – I did not fail with my product or sale cycle. My customers are very happy.

No – I have NOT gotten distracted by something really shiny (although I am not ashamed to admit that this HAS happened to me in the past…).

I am still here – learning, testing and evaluating every aspect of this venture and quite frankly, myself. It’s been a very reflective and eye-opening couple of weeks to say the least.

I am very happy to report that I experienced a genuine sense of satisfaction in my life as a result of this venture. While celebrating my achievement in a rather dimly lit restaurant last week, I was caught a little off-guard and ended up feeling a very different sense of pride and emotion for what I have accomplished – without any hint or warning. And it wasn’t the fake sense of pride (like I usually have), but one that was felt much deeper within my soul. It was a little odd and disconcerting to me because at first, I did not know how to react to all of it (this MAY explain all the giggling). For I have completed my first wholesale contract – delivering in-full and on-time, effectively ending the product development cycle and finishing what I had rather unwittingly started all those months ago. And while listening to the praise that I was receiving from across the table, I realized that I wasn’t simply brushing it off or undermining it unconsciously like I usually would.

For once in my life, in my never ending game of me against the world, I finally felt that I was an equal competitor on the playing field. And it felt amazing.

Well, this is a new concept – me actually accepting praise?! This first sale has provided me with some critical data that I can now use to move forward with WAY more confidence than before. I have been able to test my boundaries and limitations in this process to understand what works, doesn’t work and most importantly, what I fear and what is holding me back.

So, I am reading. I am quiet. I am reflective. And I have a new favorite restaurant.

But I am certainly not giving up. Not by a long shot.

Shh…tights are a tall woman’s secret weapon

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That and high boots. But that is another tall secret for another day…

Tights are an inexpensive way to test your fashion boundaries, have some fun and show off your legs all while covering your ankles for a change. The options for colors, designs and materials are literally as endless as the price points. I walk into the specialty shops in the mall and my creative mind begins to wander and explore so many different scenarios – I’m like a kid in a candy store! It’s nothing but glitter, flowers and sex all rolled into one!

Naturally, my reverie is so rudely interrupted when I look to the back of the package.

Being an eternal optimist, I always think the handy chart will somehow magically include sizing for someone who is over 5’11. But alas, I am forever disappointed. Thankfully, I just happen to like living on the edge (of course) and I always end up taking the risk by buying the extra large size (which clearly I am not) and HOPE that the material is stretchy enough to limit the low riding crotch that will inevitably occur. Or that the pattern will not become oddly distorted as I pull every last bit of length I can out of the fragile material. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t – and when it doesn’t, I just simply throw up the white flag in defeat and have an uncomfortable day in my fabulous looking tights that cost me a small fortune.

Wait a minute – is this a potential product for tall women just WAITING for development at Raw Sugar?!

OMG – I think I’ve just been struck by lightning…

Leather leggings at work

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OOTD – Raw Sugar high-waisted fake leather leggings, woven wool vest, nude stilettos, Mackage cape.

Now, it is important to note that I am certainly NOT someone who fears the random opinions of my peers or of my HR department and genuinely do enjoy bucking the dress code daily simply to get a reaction out of people for fun. I realize that this attitude makes me slightly more confident than others with my fashion choices in the workplace and as a result, I have become unforgettable across multiple departments. But if your dress code is a little stricter than mine, fake leather leggings can still work at your more conservative abode IF you follow certain rules.

The real trick to wearing any fake leather is to simply buy a higher quality version – fake leather leggings have the capacity to look real trashy, real fast, if you are not careful. Take my advice and avoid the $20 ones – as they are invariably poor in quality, with flimsy-looking construction and will guarantee to leave an ink stain in any seat that you may be sitting on…

Next, if you want to avoid any further negative attention from your obviously jealous colleagues (hehe), cover your bum. I would take this opportunity to play with the layering look by having lots of large, cozy, heavy and flowy pieces on top, with your cute leggings peeking out underneath. A simple stiletto or bootie will do. You will be warm (natch) but way more important than being warm – you will be chic and trendy looking – thus elevating the fake leather legging to a higher status and removing any possibility of bargain bin trashiness.

And finally, tall women can now get this look too by visiting my website! There really are no more excuses ladies…

My little bundle of joy!

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My new legging shipment came in last week – and its arrival on my doorstep was met with a highly dangerous and volatile cocktail of anticipation, anxiety and excitement because:

1. I happen to LOVE getting presents.
2. Each shipment travels to me SIMPLY on faith.
3. I have an overactive imagination.

I try in vain to envision their actual location in transit, their surroundings and whether or not they are being well taken care of by their carrier or crushed under the sheer weight of their travel companions. I catch myself picturing me caught this strange travel predicament instead – and all I can come up with is a sense of being trapped…in a very small plane…overwhelmed by my 500 pound neighbor spilling over his seat and into mine…an errant child in front of me having reclined her seat all the way back…a never-ending series of mechanical and weather delays…THIS is when my panic starts to set in and my thoughts run even more out of control…

So, when I finally do get the chance to catch my breath with the receipt of an illegible notification of their arrival (and pull myself away from my overactive imagination), in what state do they appear to be in? For I could easily open the box only to find my carefully crafted leggings damaged, not in the correct quantities or worse, not up to my standards in terms of quality of construction. Since I am relying on others to perform these rather essential tasks and as someone who possesses a (slight) need for control in every situation, letting go and simply allowing them to float to my doorstep is quite a stressful event to say the least.

Thankfully as I tear the cardboard box to shreds (I did mention that I love to open presents, right?), I am able to breathe a huge sigh of relief for they have arrived in excellent condition and as expected. I have been busy most evenings this past week sorting, inspecting, folding and tagging. The assembly line that I have created on my kitchen island is rigid and efficient in its process – one that commences and ends with a smile and a celebratory sip of wine.

And with every one of my leggings from this shipment passing inspection, I now find myself looking for a local tailor. For once in my life, my pants are far too long!

Rejoice!

Are you afraid of the dark?

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It’s a funny feeling moving forward without really knowing where you are going. While I wouldn’t say that I am afraid of the dark, I certainly recognize its subtle warning to tread lightly. But what is it out there that is stopping me? What force is causing me to react so tentatively yet luring me forward at the same time? What is really lurking out there just beyond my reach?

I have been watching the dense, dark forest representing my goal for a very long time, but always with a keen awareness of the firm grip holding me back whenever I would venture too close to its edge. But now, without warning, this grip has been released – whether by force or fate – and with a child-like sense of curiosity, I blindly wander in without any real path.

It’s eerily quiet. I am desperately trying to coax my eyes to adjust to the darkness, hoping to catch some light reflecting off the shadows. But my eyes fail me. I am trying to not trip on the exposed roots or hit my head on the low hanging branches – ducking and diving purely on instinct and luck. I can hear the ground beneath my feet, reminding me that I have entered this place willingly. But my attention is drawn to my heart beat pounding in my ears, growing louder and more pressing in its rhythm and intensity.

I am completely alone.

Time no longer exists in this strange place. I have nothing to gauge it against to know if I am gaining ground or falling behind. I look around, searching in a naïve attempt to find safety, only to find nothing of comfort. I must continue to move for if I stand still, the quiet evils of the darkness will most certainly consume me. Am I going in circles? Everything looks the same as before. It is only by chance that I stumble upon a tiny opening of safety and I realize that I have been holding my breath the entire time. I gratefully take this moment to re-establish my bearings and quietly bring myself back to the original sense of calm and curiosity that led me here in the first place. My heartbeat continues to pound in my ears. Something is drawing me forward and my feet move once again in an unknown direction, my body unable to stop. Why do I submit to this pull and not just resist? Aren’t I supposed to stay still when one is lost in the forest? Shouldn’t someone be trying to save me?

And then I realize that I couldn’t even find my way back to the beginning even if I wanted to. And nobody knows that I am here.

It is the most compelling and strangely exhilarating feeling I have ever had. I do not know how, if or when I will emerge from this dark place or in what state. The only thing I know for certain is that I am exactly where I must be.

And surrounded by all this darkness and uncertainty, I couldn’t be any happier.

It’s all the same to me

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I have pretty much covered all the basics for building the foundation in my little adventure in designing leggings for tall women. I happen to be at a stage where I am evaluating all the minor details that can make this great(!) scheme even greater. A minor stumbling block I seem to be hitting at this time (there is always something isn’t there?) is my ability to keep a steady focus in terms of business content across all my different media sources. And how does one truly separate the business from the personal in these highly public and often uncensored realms?

Especially when I happen to BE the brand…

Everything that I think and do is a direct reflection of what I hope to solve and achieve in this venture. I am the very definition of my ideal consumer – tall, long-legged and confident in her ability to use fashion as a means of communication. Add this to the fact that every awkward experience I have ever lived as a tall woman provides me with an example that I can draw upon when attempting to meet the needs of others just like me. This is my value proposition. Because I know that I am not alone in my long-legged clothing struggles. But how do I NOT let all my oddities and personal quirks slip out when my phone is literally attached to my hand and I have become conditioned to record every waking moment of my life for everyone to see in an attempt to gain more credibility (read – followers)?

Yet I like to think that these random insights into my own personal life offer a sense of authenticity to the brand that can be difficult to achieve otherwise. These experiences provide a human element to the mix that cannot be replicated or planned. But I can see how from any traditional business marketing perspective that this type of unplanned and random personal exposure could be seen as ultimately harming the brand; making it appear somehow not professional or too “homemade” or just plain silly and vapid.

So my question to you is – are these traditional marketing ideologies even relevant anymore?

A new-found respect for the fashion photographer

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My attention is always being pulled in the oddest of directions. And with a fashion show, one would expect that my attention would be squarely focused to the MASSIVE stage in the middle of the MASSIVE room but true to form, the obvious does not hold my interest for very long. I was particularly interested and drawn to the photographers situated at the end of the runway. For there they rest, silently waiting in the shadows for their prey; once the scripted pose is achieved, their furious snapping begins. And just as fast as it all starts – it ends – and they simultaneously drop their weapons as she floats away.

It was the same scenario for each person that graced the end of that stage. And oddly enough – I was completely mesmerized by the pattern. But don’t tell that to the designer presenting on stage. It will be our little secret…

I guess the stage show didn’t draw my attention like it should have because it all seemed to be rather contrived. Way too controlled despite the lively music. Not to mention the fact that EVERYTHING is beautiful at a distance. And I happen to be someone who genuinely appreciates fine details – which are next to impossible to observe in low lighting on a moving subject. But it was my observations of the photographers as they scrolled through their shots, clearly deleting the ones that were not worthy of the space, that offered me the sense of authenticity that I was seeking from the event. Their presence also provided me with an interesting and creative point of view with which to observe, because each photographer was vying to get a slightly different shot than the other, even though they were all presented with the exact same material to work with. I watched as some moved about the room, capturing different angles, all in the hopes of communicating the emotion that the designer was hoping to achieve; even if the model was unable to convey it clearly.

A fascinating evening indeed for very different reasons than one would ever imagine.

The BEST horoscope for today

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Yes-I am one of those people who believes in mystical/spiritual things…

My horoscope for today could not be more accurate. Here it is!

You are building a bridge to your dreams step by step. Although the floor beneath your feet isn’t as stable as you wish, the foundation is probably strong enough to support you. You are inflating your vision of today’s potential like a child blows up a balloon. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to know where the limits are now. You might not be able to find satisfaction if you always believe the solution is right around the next corner. Sometimes happiness can be found in the present moment.

How old am I?!

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I seem to be reverting back to my old high school days of staying up late (READ= working – not partying) and sleeping in, all surrounded by piles of clothes strewn about my bedroom. Think chiffon blouse hanging off my lamp. My primary reading is now fashion magazines (READ= really always has been – who’s kidding who here), and not books or novels. I am a 35 year old woman caught in the routine of an 18 year old girl – the only difference now is that I have added expensive wine to the mix and my clothes are SO much nicer than they were in high school.

When I get caught with an idea, I can’t help but latch onto it and lose more time than necessary trailing the internet into the wee hours of the morning. I am constantly researching and documenting every possible marketing opportunity for my leggings – and testing the results of each idea to see what works and what needs more work than necessary in order to make it work…Folding laundry has become low on the list of priorities.

The latest marketing find is storenvy.com – an on-line marketplace for creative small businesses. Clothing, accessories shoes…oh my! I have set up my leggings “shop” there in an effort to reach more people. I am curious to see the results of this little adventure as I am being lured into the depths of wonderful and unique temptations…

But I have no more room in my closet even if I lament and toss every morning because I have NOTHING to wear. At least now I can stand firm. My resolve is much stronger than before. My leggings are the number one priority for me now. My closet will have to wait.

Something new on the horizon?!

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I’m on a plateau right now. Not a bad thing – it is completely expected and inevitable in any venture.

I read a great article yesterday on the dangers of being on a plateau, why it happens and how to get over it. Getting used to my surroundings, bad timing of a launch, getting distracted by noise instead of listening to the core issues and perfectionism are all some of the reasons why this phenomenon occurs. All seemed very logical to me. But, the overarching solution to all of these pitfalls simply involves taking a risk and somehow re-creating that sense of excitement of forging off into the unknown once again.

I’m not going to lie; my gut has had a couple of (quiet) reactions to certain aspects of this venture. They have been secretly filed away, ready for some unknown use in the future. And don’t get me wrong, I have been grateful and in awe of all the information and feedback that I have received thus far. It’s been phenomenal! But now that I have learnt a little, maybe its time to review those gut reactions and really have a good listen to them. What are they been trying to tell me? And have I been simply ignoring their intensity because I have been just thrilled to have had the opportunity even presented to me in the first place and did not want to seem ungrateful. Have I been caught in a “Don’t bite the hand that feeds me” scenario?

So, I’m back in Montreal this weekend with a list of items and businesses to inspect and evaluate. A couple of meetings scheduled with people to see what they have to offer me. It never hurts to ask, right?!

The goal is to stand firmly on this little plateau of mine and take a good look around to see what may be lurking over this new horizon.
It was a long, challenging climb to get to this level. I’ve sat and enjoyed some well-deserved rest and reflection. Now, its time for me to get back up and start climbing once again.

Clearly I must be an adrenaline junkie.

It was a long night

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I need to re-stipple my ceiling.

I came to this conclusion last night (this morning) as I stared intently at all the little ridges and bumps dancing in the shadows of the moonlight all while secretly cursing my barista for the non-decaf shot in my latte from lunch. Clearly, I am suffering from first world problems.

I remembered experiencing a similar moment just about the same time last year. I also remembered thinking at that time how I was trapped, unable to move forward in my life, feeling stuck with no conceivable way to get myself out of the jam that I was in. When I think back at those memories and compare them to what I am surrounded with now and the opportunities ready to be seized, I never imagined that I would have made as far as I did.

While staring at the ridges, I find myself having similar feelings yet again with this venture – I seem to be stuck, how am I going to make this work, where am I going?; all forgetting the fact that situations in my life seem to have a funny way of working themselves out. I can’t even conceive of where I will be this time NEXT year…

I just need to have faith. The path that I am on will lead me to where I want to go.

I have eyes in the back of my head.

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New goal for this week: To stop one tall woman per day and let them know that I design interesting and fun leggings for them and to engage in some informal market research. Seems very realistic and prudent to me. In order for me to achieve this goal, it will be critical to scan the crowds in my daily travels and seek out my targets with the precision of a laser and grab hold until I can engage with them.

But in reality, we all know that it won’t be THAT hard for me to lose them…

I will say that I am always surprised to encounter other tall people in my travels. I am so used to standing out in a crowd that when I do come across someone who can look at me directly into my eyes, I become a little flustered. It’s almost like I have found a long lost brother/sister who understands EVERYTHING that I go through on a daily basis who I am meeting for the very first time. Should we hug? Neither of us will have to do the awkward stoop – what a refreshing change! Ok – snap back to reality…

But there is this inherent connection that exists between us as we silently pass and communicate to each other with only our eyes as if to say “what sup” or “I got your back”. The exclusivity of this group is fiercely protected. Thankfully being one of them, I can gain access rather easily.

And I am fairly certain that I will be surprised with the results.

Thank god I’m really tanned…

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I spent most of the weekend bathing in the sun and planning my next marketing move. Being a weak aspect of my skill set, I came to the conclusion while meditating in the sun that I need to step outside of my comfort zone and do some things that I have never done before in order to achieve my goal; letting people know that I have amazing leggings to sell! I need to identify all instances in my day-to-day routine where my habits automatically cause me to behave in a particular way, potentially allowing me to miss opportunities related to this venture. We all get caught in a behavioural rut and I am no different. So, it’s time I jumped off the cliff (once again) into new and unchartered waters.

To kick off this wild week of potentially awkward behaviours and encounters, I pulled a move I have never done before.

My nails are yellow.

This has never happened in my 25 years of nail painting history. I even insisted that she round out the shape from my decades-old square tip. My poor manicurist checked with me nervously three times to make sure that I wasn’t kidding. After reassuring her that I am trying something new, (and knowing that I tip well) she reluctantly started her process, somehow afraid that I would make her re-do it if I wasn’t happy with the results.

I love it! And I would have never known if I hadn’t tried! A (very) small, but important first-step outside of my comfort zone this week. When I get going, I can sometimes be hard to stop… 🙂

A sudden craving for pickles…

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I found that I really needed this week to take a step back from my venture and just let the magnitude of what I have accomplished simply set in. I also needed to spend considerable energy this week on the practicalities of my actual paying job, which happens to fund this little adventure. Some choices in life are simply unavoidable.

And I am left feeling exhausted. I dragged myself to the office today with my only consolation prize being a massive quantity of hot coffee; the only quiet pleasure afforded to me at my desk while I plan out the activities of my day.

Oddly enough, I am finding this sense of exhaustion very interesting. On the one hand, I have an opportunity which fills me with excitement, takes me to new places that I have never been before, pushes me outside of my boundaries of what I think I am capable of, fuels my drive to succeed and feeds my creativity like no other. But it cannot pay my bills.

On the other hand, I have a job which drains me to no end, provides no opportunity for creativity and dulls my senses and instincts in order to accommodate for life within the corporate structure. All with zero opportunity for challenging and pushing me outside of my boundaries. Yet it pays my bills.

I’m definitely in a bit of a pickle here. Because I do enjoy having my bills paid. And BCBG is not cheap. And they are so damn convenient now that they have locations in all the malls around town…

So, how do I take my venture and turn it around into something that will actually pay my bills?

Now I need to buy a photocopier…

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You know, sometimes I even amaze myself. I seem to have this knack for starting a project with seemingly impossible barriers and then turning around and completing said project with flying colours.

This skill was yet again demonstrated to me last night while I was hanging the beautiful (!) shots from my website in my stairwell.

In the dark.
While drinking sangria.
And the frames I bought had the backing with those pesky two hooks instead of one.

The bonus of this little story was that I found out that I somehow own a level. Who knew?!

Ok-I’ll explain. I was in darkness only because I lack man-hands and one of my fuses is screwed in too tight and I can’t get it out to replace it. And the frames were on sale so I was more interested in the great deal then the actual mechanics that were lurking in the back.

The sangria, however, was completely self-inflicted.

All these events seemed to collide and cause yet another eventful evening in my home. And also reminded me that I am forever going against the odds in everything that I do. Did I mention this was all done while balancing on stairs?!

But the frames look so pretty on the wall. And I got to take a moment to step back and really see the fruits of all my labour.

My grin was pretty deep last night. And it wasn’t from the sangria.

Details

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Papers are flying everywhere. Boxes are arriving almost daily it seems. I’m getting to know the FedEx guy pretty well now.

Clearly, I now need to buy a filing cabinet.

I never realized that there would be so many small yet critical details to manage on a daily basis. It’s not as if any one particular task is challenging or difficult to complete. It’s the sheer magnitude of tiny tasks that keep my to-do list full and bloated.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now what?

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Ok – now what? All I can hear are quiet crickets chirping occasionally in the background…
I must say, this has been a rather anti-climactic experience. It reminds me of New Years Eve at midnight. All this build up and excitement leading up to the moment and then as the seconds tick by, nothing really changes. No weird Y2K glitches have occurred. I will sheepishly admit here that my naiveté has gotten the better of me this time around.

Now, I am left pondering my next move all while scratching my head and looking a little perplexed. I spent quite a bit of time wandering aimlessly yesterday trying to process all of my thoughts. I had assumed that a launch would be my final task in this venture; that all work completed over the last year would simply culminate to this very moment and the ultimate fruition of all my e-commerce goals and dreams would come true…in essence, the ultimate rookie mistake. Launching has been, in reality, simply the beginning of my journey and that I have really only accomplished half of my task by bringing these leggings to market. I have developed, designed, produced and successfully created a platform for them to be sold. A major feat in of itself. But, if no one knows about my leggings, all this work becomes useless and could be simply filed under the “very expensive hobby” category.

So, now comes the next major phase in this venture – marketing and networking. And it just so happens that these two critical skills are also my two biggest weaknesses…

The furrowed brow has to stop – I can’t afford Botox.

Rainy day…

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Pro=beachy waves from all the humidity.

Con=I’m wearing a silk kimono wrap. Completely inappropriate and dangerous with all this moisture flying around.

Biggest Pro of them all=June 30th is fast approaching and my site will be up. A little rain and grey skies are no match for the sun bursting out of my soul right now.

Thank you to all my new and old followers for indulging me by reading up on my little journey 🙂

Rain, schmain. I could care less.

FAQ? How about ‘Never’ Asked Questions…

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I am tinkering right now, refining the details of my site by studying other sites and the features that they offer. Not that I want to copy what others are doing, but there is certainly a standard that exists in the e-commerce world and shoppers are naturally accustomed to certain layouts and data fields. I keep reading about all these “abandoned carts” that I need to avoid creating; of which makes me think of some pathetic dark and dirty repository somewhere on the outskirts of the city, hidden from view, and piled high with the unwanted and discarded. Just like the island of misfit toys. Like I would want to send my leggings to such a terrible and lonely place like that…

I have glossy photos thanks to my shoot. I have a blog like every human on the planet. I have inserted the standard legal data for my terms and conditions and privacy policies pages which exist for all businesses to use and be protected (?) by. But I see that I am missing an FAQ page.

Well, ok. Now I am stumped. No one has asked me any questions about this business or its operations ever, let alone on a frequent basis…

I guess this is where I can explain why I am limiting my quantities. Why my styles will always be changing. Why I have to take baby steps and test certain logistics before I can take over the world! (hehehe). These are all details that I have stuck in my head and I understand their rationale but the customer will be completely unaware of.

After proof reading all the legal stuff and snapping back from the blurred page, it is all feeling a little dry. And I think I need to inject a little more of my humour into the site. And this might be an interesting place to start…

I try to make it look this easy!

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I spent the better part of the day yesterday debating the merits of plastic bags. Needless to say, I can sometimes get too caught up with the tiny details of any project.
It all started out so innocently. I needed to buy my shipping supplies and have been thinking about the end presentation and packaging details for my designs. What impression do I want to convey when a customer opens that box from me? (I am that person who hates to tear at thick paper and ribbon on a beautifully presented and thoughtfully wrapped gift. But this is me). I have to take into consideration that there are many people who do not care if that package arrives on their doorstep all neat, gorgeous and colour-coordinated. And, at what cost? How far do I go? I needed to find some balance. And true to form, I naturally gravitated towards the most expensive option without even trying.
The sheer amount of trinkets and options available to me are astounding. I need tags. But which ones? They come in all shapes and sizes and colours and thickness…. Then, there’s the plastic shopping bag. Do I want plain? Cheap? Biodegradable? Coloured? Printed? I had to make it easier on myself by just picking plain white tissue paper because I couldn’t bear the thought of having to decide between the hundreds of metallic and textured options…
After an unknown time wasted on the internet (big surprise there) I secretly wished that there weren’t so many choices available to me. And I need to weigh the amount of time and energy and cost associated to this aspect of the sale. But I’m a firm believer that it’s the little details which help to separate a satisfactory shopping experience from those which are great.
And I like to make a nice impression…

Walking Tall

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I have developed a love/hate relationship with my legs over the years. I don’t really have a problem with it per say, it’s more the reactions that others have. And while walking around this weekend, I felt this dissonance rather strongly and with acute awareness.
Now don’t get me wrong, the positive attention is amazing and strokes my ego like no other can. My legs have a natural pull to them and can be hard to ignore – especially in a short summer dress. A man hanging out of his car window hollering at me is, in my opinion, not the most creative method to get my attention (really…you are driving AWAY from me!!) but is also strangely exhilarating – especially given my age. I often giggle quietly as couples walk past me, man trying ever so hard to hide the path of his eyes and woman staring at me with a mix of awe and anger all rolled into one. Cue the nasty glare. Tourists have even taken pictures of me as I walk past thinking that because I am tall and thin I somehow must be famous yet they are unsure of who I am exactly. Now, THAT is a VERY odd experience…and leaves me sad that I have somehow duped them into thinking they got something really neat from their trip. But it has also given me insight into what it really must be like being a celebrity and the lack of privacy or consent. People smile at me more. Doors magically open for me. The positive effects of my legs are truly endless!
But, there must be a sense of balance and my legs are no different. The anger in women’s eyes is palpable. The comments that are not necessarily meant to be negative often come off as being just that. When a short man tells me (somewhat angrily) that I should not be wearing heels because it is simply not right or fair always seems to illicit the same response – that “ why I should be forced to wear ugly shoes because YOU are genetically average?!” Yeah – I’ve even mastered that line with the deadpan look too. Or the stares that are not necessarily in awe or envy but more in oddness and sadness. “It must be hard to date” I’ve been told. Children who state the obvious rather loudly to their parents as they look at me embarrassed for their child’s simple honesty. You could say that I’ve had to develop a thick skin over the years. And why it has taken me years to get over the stoop/slouch in my back in an awkward attempt to blend in.
Now that I am older (and wiser?), I can relish in both the positive and negative attention as it makes me different from the rest of the crowd. But, it has taken me many years to come to terms with my ability to stand out. And now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Little secret – I am easily pleased

Long weekend in Montreal for new fabric sourcing!

Even though the weather is going to be stunning and I am going to be stuck indoors climbing on bolts of fabric in dirty, stuffy, hot warehouses, I can assure you that nothing is bringing me more pleasure than this thought right now.

And if I can find a fluorescent melon shade, I think I just might collapse with sheer joy.

What can I say – it takes very little to please me…

Back to the beginning for inspiration

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About the only time in my life where I feel small is when I am deep in the woods. Yes, you guessed it, I am tall. But not when I am amongst the trees.

When on the edge, the trees both gradually yet suddenly tower above me, blocking the sky from my view, and huddling me warmly into their home and far away from mine. I am simply forced to look up in amazement at their height, their strength and their (relative) sense of permanence. They face similar challenges just as I do. Strong winds will push them in ways they are not meant to go. Both animals and humans will cause injury to their trunks and branches like some sort of annoying pest might. Some age gracefully; others do not. But for the most part, their ability to remain firmly rooted to the ground and unfazed by the constant challenges that surrounds them, is truly inspiring.

For each season, they shed and change, reminding me that nothing in life is ever truly permanent yet they somehow always return back to the beginning, starting anew, but this time with a learned adaptation to protect and heal from the experience. The weight of their collective silence forces me to pause my thoughts. The crunch beneath my feet reminds me that I am moving forward. I can sometimes look back to see where I have been. And the idea that I may even become lost if I am not careful of my surroundings is, oddly enough, an exhilarating thought.

And maybe that’s why I feel more comfortable in woods than I really ought to be. I am a giant of the human world; they are the giants of the natural world. It’s nice to be around and to learn from those who understand what it’s like to be me.

Saturday reading material

A fantastic find

A fantastic find

My plans today are to simply find a quiet place in the sun, with a fruity and high-caloric beverage and simply enjoy the bright blue sky. I may even take a little nap to get deeper into my dreams!

I highly recommend this read 🙂

A small exerpt A small excerpt

Day 1 – I’ve been dared to make my dream come true in less than 2 months…

Excuse me while I freak out for a bit

Excuse me while I freak out for a bit

What can I say – my life has hit a rut; the proverbial bump in the road. As most people do, I happen to work in an office. A fantastic corner cube with a window. 2 desks. People knock on the fake door. I have it all. But what they do not know is that I have a little secret…I actually lead a double life.

Analyst by day.
Fashion Designer by night.

I’m the equivalent of a modern-day superhero. Spiderman without the jumpsuit. But my boss doesn’t yell at me.

I must say that it’s not always easy to keep up with the daily charade. My thoughts wander regularly as I gaze out my window. How do I do it you ask? I barely sleep. And I happen to be a really good actress.
Why do I do it you ask? I really have nothing left to lose and I can never back down from a challenge – especially one that involved a high-five.

But most importantly, I seriously have nothing to wear!

OK-please don’t laugh…it’s true!

I’m a 6 foot tall woman living in a fashion world designed for a cute 5’4 physique. My ankles are freezing and I am utterly exhausted with trying to make due with what is available to me! Being the resourceful woman that I am, I have come up with a viable and brilliant solution – if I can’t find it, then I will make it.

I can already feel the creative juices flowing again. My ideas are endless. But to really get the adrenaline pumping through my veins, it has to be done in 2 months or less. We shook on it. It’s a done deal.

Can someone please tell me what have I gotten myself into this time?

I Need Your Help! Tall Women – this one is for you!

Please answer my short survey – I am currently in the development stages for a new, young, urban, street-style (ok, you get it) clothing line designed specifically for tall women.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L97XRJF

It’s short, but the data will help me take the next steps forward. Your participation is much appreciated! Please forward to as many individuals as possible…

Alissa xoxo

Thinking I’d better keep my day job

20130403-090327.jpgI am not one to make New Year resolutions.  Since I am constantly setting goals for myself throughout the year, to reserve and express them all on one day would result in a laundry list of random thoughts and wishes.  Not effective.  And overwhelming.  Instead, I choose to use the turn of the New Year as a moment to reflect on the events of the passing year and take that moment to say to myself “wow, I didn’t see that one coming…”
Happens every year…
And I guess that is why I never plan in rigid detail because my plan never really unfolds the way I had initially predicted anyways.  Sure, there are thoughts that happen because I specifically make them happen such as “I want to go on a road trip” or “I will go to the gym” but where I will actually end up on this random road trip and how many times I will actually end up at the gym are absolute unknowns.
Situations and events always pop up when I least expect it.  How could I have predicted that I would meet a random stranger who happens to be an expert in a field of which I have no knowledge of, yet is so critical to the success of my particular venture?  How can I predict death or loss of a job?    How can I predict if I will fall-in or out-of love?  Each of these present options and opportunities that until faced, is impossible to know the route that will best fit.  And that route will more than likely be wrong and rocky and filled with gaping potholes, all requiring the agility of a cat while trapped in the body of an elephant.
So, here I am again this year, pondering the twists and turns.  And again, I am shocked and pleasantly surprised at how the story has unfolded.  But there is no point in guessing where I will be next year – I am clearly a terrible psychic.

My little secret in the interview process…

I generally do not prepare in advance when conducting interviews – I seem to have a good instinct when we shake hands as to the type of person they might be. Years of observing people and their behaviours have given me rich data to work with. And interviews are probably the only scenario where it is expected that one fill silence with prepared speeches and ridiculous exaggerations of one’s talents and skills. It’s like you have gotten stuck at the party with the really annoying person, in a very tiny space, and you are desperately trying to leave but simply cannot get away. And they happen to be in this rather cramped space with their mother – to extol all their god-like virtues and grand achievements at the various church social clubs, hospitals and charity work for the poor. For this reason, I like to side step the mother completely and get right to the point. I have found over the years that it is best not to ask the traditional “so, tell me a little about yourself” question. I much prefer to use the urban myth interview question of “if you could be any animal in the kingdom, which would you be?” Way better results.

People will always fall into one of two categories. The first is the wide-eyed, “I can’t believe you just asked me that”, colour-draining-from-the-face type of response that clearly was not anticipated nor prepared for. Stammering generally occurs. I am often curious at this point “Hmmm, how will they get out of that one…I wonder….”. Unfortunately for me, this category of reaction generally ends the interview in a rather painful and anti-climatic manner.

The second category is the knee-jerk reaction truth. And that is really the answer that I am looking for in an interview. Dog = happy and loyal sometimes to a fault. Cat = lazy and obsessively clean, perhaps snobby. Ostrich = humourous and does not take things too seriously – potential lawsuit. By using this method, I have just cut months of wistful waiting and expensive training costs to figure out this person outside the traditional manner. Who needs the safety of a probationary period now? Shake hands and move on. Did I mention I can be cold and highly efficient?

Perhaps I generalize with this method. Perhaps I make decisions based on false assumptions. But let’s face it, one needs to communicate and make an impression of their personality, work ethic and ability to complete tasks to a complete stranger almost instantly. Sigh… here comes that two-minute elevator pitch again. Really, I do not swoon that easily. Thanks internet for making me jaded.

Oh, and by the way, here is another little secret…I am always a horse 🙂

How to give a bottle of ketchup for Christmas and not look cheap

Christmas Tourtiere Recipe

For a yummy and indulgent meal this holiday season – without any thought of calories, fat (save that for March when bikini season is fast approaching), or any other modern sense of health-related reasoning – try this meat pie. I can guarantee you that it will bring the tallest and strongest man quite literally to his knees in utter gratitude and awe for your homemade creation! Seriously ladies – if you need a proposal, this is the smoking gun…I should know – I have gotten 2 as a result….

BTW – it takes a couple of days if you want to do it right. I got this recipe from a proper, elderly, French Canadian woman -quantities and instructions can be sketchy at times so go with your gut – as all cooking really ought to be done anyways…

It will make 3 pies – but don’t worry, it’s not too much. The extras can be frozen and enjoyed at a later date – should your man need a reminder of how amazing you actually are.

Crust:
About 6 cups flour
1 package golden/cookie type shortening
About 2 cups of milk
A bit of salt

Mix flour and salt.
Cut the shortening into the flour until crumbly.
Add the milk gradually until the dough gets all sticky like chewing gum – add more milk/flour to get the right consistency.
Make 2 balls.
Wrap each in wax paper.
Put in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for 24 hours – a must in this process- don’t skimp.

Next day….
Take one ball and divide it in three to roll out the bottoms for the pies. Don’t forget! The dough will shrink slightly so make a slight overhang over the edge!
Pierce bottoms with a fork.
Bake at 350 until golden. You’ll know when its done because it will smell yummy.
Cool completely.

Filling:
1 package each ground lamb, beef and veal.
Onions
1 can cream of mushroom soup – FULL FAT AND SODIUM (re-read 1St paragraph if you need a reminder of the intent of this recipe)
Salt and Pepper
Allspice

Fry onions in oil. One or two cooking onions per pie usually works.
Fry meat in pot. Once cooked – A MUST!!! Drain the excess liquid. Soppy pie = no proposal.
Add soup.
Add salt, pepper and allspice. You’ll know when it’s good.

Take meat and mix it in a food processor.
Spread the filling into the pies.

Take the last ball of dough and roll out 3 tops. Pierce with a fork. You can take a moment here to get creative by adding a hint for your man – but you must know that your message will become purely subliminal – his brain, eyes and ears will shut off completely once his lips taste your creation. If you don’t want a proposal – I applaud your independence and choices – then this would be a good time to ask for that puppy or whatever it is he has been opposed to for unknown reasons.

Bake until top is golden – about 30 minutes or so. If you freeze the extras, reheat covered in foil for about an hour at 350.

Serve with your beautifully wrapped bottle of ketchup and voila! Kitchen goddess!

Watch what you say – someone is listening!

IMG_1018I am cursed with having a really good sense of hearing.  Not that I am a nosy person, I just happen to hear everything that goes on around me.  It has proven to be a very valuable skill in times when I am meant to be caught off guard by my attacker, only to have their plan foiled when I already have a response prepared and subsequently delivered without any hesitation.  I can see the look in their eyes after this exchange – a combination of defeat and competition and envy all rolled into one.

Seriously, if you are going to try to knock me down, you’d better bring it.  Just saying.

But it also means that I hear all the little whispers that circulate around me – comments meant not to be heard but desperate to be voiced and validated.  You know the passive-aggressive type – always sly in nature because actually voicing the true meaning out loud for all to hear would mean that they would have to stand firm when faced with opposition or retaliation.  I have come to understand that there are few people who are willing to put themselves in this position and as a result, will try to circumvent the issue through quietly veiled comments.  Sarcastic remarks replace the truth.  Because unfortunately, the truth can sometimes sting.

I often sit back and secretly enjoy these whispers because they always reveal a vulnerability.  The “look what she’s wearing” tone really tells me that they are not happy with their body and wish they had the courage to take a fashion risk.  The “must be nice to have all that free time” tone tells me that they wish they were better organized in their daily tasks so that they no longer feel overwhelmed.

I doubt if they ever really listen to what they are saying.  I also doubt that they know how much I am truly listening and analyzing their hidden meanings.  And I doubt that I will ever have the opportunity to really clear through the fog with them to get at the true message of their words.  I simply file it away as another piece of information whose usage remains unknown.  But I have the knowledge in knowing that it will be useful to me someday, ready to be pulled out in an unknown offensive strategy designed to thwart another attacker.  They will be green with envy.

And I have to.  They just keep coming at me.

Cue the musical score

Fuck you Cinderella.  Yes, I said it and you heard me right.  That’s for building up a fantasy world full of love, adoration, chivalry and happy endings for little girls everywhere.

Sigh.  I am a hopeless romantic.

But, I am also an intelligent, successful woman who is independent, self-sufficient and highly suspicious of people’s motives and intents.  I have never wired money to Nigeria, I change my PIN number on my bank cards consistently and never leave my purse unattended (at least not anymore…).

How did I let this one slip by me?!  I have been completely sucked in to her unattainable ideal – filled with lovely dresses, sweeping musical sonnets and glittery eyes.  She’s a diabolical  marketing genius in glass – not plastic, high-heeled shoes.  Now maybe, if she were the one asking me for money, I might swoon under those pleading blue eyes and open my wallet to her misfortune.  She was locked in a tower you know…

So, why do I continue to buy into this fantasy knowing full-well that I will be setting myself up for failure?  How can there be chivalry when I (and my date) expect to split the cheque?  And is it really too much for me to ask to have a strong and protective man sweep me off my feet simply to avoid messy puddles on the sidewalk, dotting on my every whim with love and affection all while dancing in the moonlight AND  let me run my own empire and make more money than him?  Can we ever effectively merge our two “castles” and live happily ever after?

Clearly I need to get my priorities straight. Reality does not accommodate this fantasy – and trust me – I have tested it.   And if I push it, I appear to align more with the ugly stepsister and we all know how she fares by the end of the story.  While I am now at least aware of my unrealistic romantic ideals, old habits die-hard.  For I will always fall hard for the man standing at the bottom of the sweeping staircase, waiting for me with open arms.

Tall Woman seeking Tall Man…

My foray into the dating scene has not been a stellar one to say the least and results have been well below initial expectations.  I am naturally a competitive person. But, between the married, secretly gay and aspiring porn stars, I have been really testing my abilities to soothe my disappointed heart through warm comfort foods, my jammies and ever loyal cat.  It has even come to the point where I am highly suspicious of the handsome and intelligent man, holding a carefully selected bottle of wine and a simple caprese salad, seeking nothing more than my company and conversation.  When did dating become so confusing and difficult to navigate?  Am I really this jaded?

I often think I ought to be doing better at this than I really am.  I don’t think that I am that clueless nor unfortunate – speed dating showed me who the real “unfortunate” are in the dating scene.  A mass of crooked teeth, unbearable nervousness, with a slight sense of desperation in their eyes – no, I do not fit into that category.  Yet, my dating experiences have given me no other conclusive data to prove me otherwise.  I maintain my appearance (through albeit barbaric procedures) to ensure that I am neat, tidy and pleasant in appearance.  I am a regular at the gym.  My bills are paid in-full and on-time every month.  I attract the usual catcalls and have doors magically open for me.  But, why do I have such a hard time meeting a person without falling down the rabbit hole again only to realize that he actually has a secret family somewhere else in the world and forgot to tell me?  And more importantly, how did I not see that one coming?!  I watch Lifetime…?!

I was recently told by a co-worker on an unrelated matter that I have incredibly thick skin.  Boyfriends dying on you will do that to a person.  As I listened to this individual, in my head, I was thinking to myself that maybe I am not moisturizing enough then.  And I guess that is the real lesson in all of this – to stop looking to others for satisfaction and happiness but to focus more on myself to get what I truly need to feed my soul.

But that caprese salad was really good….

Who I was and where I am going is not the same

I always feel out-of-place – like I am living in a different place than everyone else around me. And as I age, I am finding that this dissonance is becoming more apparent. It’s either everyone seems to be too slow to keep up with my thoughts and ideas or I am way out to lunch. Personally, I prefer to think that it’s the former rather than the latter, but then again, I could be biased.

I recently read an interesting article outlining the attributes of an entrepreneur. As if I had been hit in the head with a swift kick by my inner self, it all started to make perfect sense. For each of the top 10 qualities outlined in the article described me to a tee, in my abilities, instincts and motivations. And even the thought of assigning the title of “entrepreneur” to myself is exciting – it sounds important, mysterious and successful. But, resisting the simple lure of a “title”, I have come to realize that I have been going against what my natural instincts have been telling me to do all along.

My work has never been the right fit, for I have always been working on someone else’s dream. I have had much to ponder. Where did I pick up this self-defeating sense of duty? Maybe it is something that has always been deep within me, holding me back. A fear of failure? Fortunately for me, I am now finding that these former excuses are becoming exposed and carry less weight than before.

As a result, I tend to wander aimlessly a lot. But my thoughts always seem to come back to the same thread, over and over again. Can I really let everything go, have faith and take this realization to the next level?

I am almost ready to jump off the cliff. My stomach is racing . And it feels amazing.

I’ve just peeked into bizarro world…

Something is going on and I don’t know what it is but I think I like it. But I don’t know… You know when you have a hard time remembering if a situation really did happen or if it was all just a dream…

I actually left my house yesterday without any make-up on and I was completely fine with it. Out in public! Downtown no less! In broad daylight!

You have to understand the gravity of the situation here – I am that woman who works out with full hair and make-up at the gym. I believe that I am merely being polite to ensure that I am looking my best for all to enjoy and envy. It’s simply good manners. And as such, I have willingly spent years and countless hours primping and priming, moisturizing and applying. The thought of assigning a value to this daily ritual is nauseating. Complete and absolute fiscal denial. Yet, yesterday I awoke without any need to re-touch or fix anything. I looked in the mirror and thought to myself how lovely I looked in that very moment. Relaxed. Content. Not a line, blotch or blemish in sight. And all under terrible lighting no less!

The moment has left me in shock and pondering the real cause of this sudden bravery – to expose myself for all to see – gasp! the real me?! I’m not even kidding ladies – not even a quick swipe of mascara was in sight.

Maybe its this venture. Maybe its the Yoga. Maybe its a culmination of my life’s experiences that have finally caused me to pause and take stock of my gratitude for life and for all the riches that I have amassed without expending one ounce of effort. It’s been an unnerving 24 hours to say the least.

I can assure you that today, I am neatly and flawlessly wearing my armour. But somehow it just doesn’t feel right anymore.

Tall Trees

About the only time in my life where I feel small is when I am deep in the woods.  Yes, you guessed it, I am tall.  But not when I am amongst the trees. 

When on the edge, the trees both gradually yet suddenly tower above me, blocking the sky from my view, and huddling me warmly into their home and far away from mine.  I am simply forced to look up in amazement at their height, their strength and their (relative) sense of permanence.  They face similar challenges just as I do.  Strong winds will push them in ways they are not meant to go.  Both animals and humans will cause injury to their trunks and branches like some sort of annoying pest might.  Some age gracefully; others do not.  But for the most part, their ability to remain firmly rooted to the ground and unfazed by the constant challenges that surrounds them, is truly inspiring. 

For each season, they shed and change, reminding me that nothing in life is ever truly permanent yet they somehow always return back to the beginning, starting anew, but this time with a learned adaptation to protect and heal from the experience.   The weight of their collective silence forces me to pause my thoughts.  The crunch beneath my feet reminds me that I am moving forward.    I can sometimes look back to see where I have been.  And the idea that I may even become lost if I am not careful of my surroundings is, oddly enough, an exhilarating thought.

And maybe that’s why I feel more comfortable in woods than I really ought to be.  I am a giant of the human world; they are the giants of the natural world.  It’s nice to be around and to learn from those who understand what it’s like to be me.

The first thing is to suspend my disbelief…

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I’m nervous.

I’m so excited that I am borderline childish…

Will she like me?

My heels are inappropriate with all this slippery weather…

Will I stutter?

Will I laugh awkwardly and controllably?

Am I wearing too much lipstick?

This necklace is scratchy.

Here goes nothing…I must remember to suspend my disbelief.

How to give a bottle of ketchup for Christmas and not look cheap

Raw Sugar

Christmas Tourtiere Recipe

For a yummy and indulgent meal this holiday season – without any thought of calories, fat (save that for March when bikini season is fast approaching), or any other modern sense of health-related reasoning – try this meat pie. I can guarantee you that it will bring the tallest and strongest man quite literally to his knees in utter gratitude and awe for your homemade creation! Seriously ladies – if you need a proposal, this is the smoking gun…I should know – I have gotten 2 as a result….

BTW – it takes a couple of days if you want to do it right. I got this recipe from a proper, elderly, French Canadian woman -quantities and instructions can be sketchy at times so go with your gut – as all cooking really ought to be done anyways…

It will make 3 pies – but don’t worry…

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