Green Christmas Part 2

I’ve been trying to write this entry for DAYS and can’t seem to get my act together to actually finish it. I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to blog regularly over the holidays is kind of a lost cause (well, for me anyways). I’ve actually really enjoyed being “unplugged” from the online world the past few weeks.
Lately, my days have been full of spending time with my family, showing BF around my picturesque albeit slightly eccentric hometown, and hanging out with my beautiful best friend who is also home for the holidays. I’ve also been on a total jewelry making binge, getting ready to finally put up my etsy site for 2010–a goal of mine for the New Year (more on that later!).

(I’ve also been doing some serious lounging in my new fluffy robe!)

Another one of my goals for 2010 is to try and use more of my own photography on SkinnyDip. Now that I have access to BF’s new amazing camera this will be relatively easy. Today’s photo was one that we took on Christmas Day. One of the great things about Christmas Day on the West Coast is that if the weather is nice you can go for a walk along the beach, which is exactly what we did this year. I chose this photo because its beautiful (I love the quality of light, the setting sun reflecting on the water, the glistening rocks, the shadows–everything) and I feel the image is really optimistic—very fitting for my mood this holiday season.

I was reading SandyB the other day and she was saying how Christmas is a great time to reflect on the past year. I have to agree– especially this year because I really do feel like I am in a completely different place than I was 12 months ago. Last year at this time I was having a really hard time with a lot of things. I was recovering from a serious injury that made it difficult for me to do the things I enjoy (walking, exercising, dancing) and I was working at a job that left me feeling constantly overstressed and unhappy. All the negativity associated with my job consumed my life and left very little room for positive things (including spending time with my family & friends). I constantly felt sad and frustrated because I desperately wanted a change but didn’t even know where to start. Looking back, I can see that I was so exhausted all the time that I wasn’t really engaging in life, I was trying to escape life (through endless hours spent watching dvds, TV series, books, & general hibernation). I was surviving my life but I wasn’t enjoying myself, I wasn’t smiling. In other words, I didn’t really feel like me.

I feel really sad when I think back to last Christmas. However, that sense of sadness only lasts a moment before its replaced with this huge sense of relief and gratitude that things are different. My life isn’t perfect but, this year I can definitely say that the positive outweighs the negative. Here are a few good things I am grateful for:

1. Being able to spend the holidays “at home” in BC with my family & best friend (this was something I wasn’t able to do last year). Its been so nice.
2. Being able to call such a beautiful place “home”. Showing BF all my favorite places in Victoria and Vancouver has reminded me that (if you can get past the hippies, bongo drums, and stoners) BC is an incredibly beautiful & awesome corner of the world.
3. I may not be making as much money as I was at my old job but what I am doing for work is something I enjoy. I go to work not because I feel like I am obligated to be there but because I choose to be there. My current job also gives me the flexibility to pursue other opportunities on the side. I am grateful that I have this luxury.
4. I eat really, really well and never go hungry. Compared to a lot of people in this world, this really is a luxury as well.
5. As far as material things go, I don’t have as much as some people, but I have what I need. I have a decent wardrobe, a lot of nice purses and a size-able shoe collection. A lot of this is thanks to generous freebies from BF (who is a footwear designer & is always bestowing sample shoes upon me) and my fashionable sister who regularly gifts me her designer rejects (Thanks for the Vivienne Westwood top & the vintage skirt!). I know I probably take some of this for granted, but I shouldn’t. I am really a lucky person.
7. Lastly, I am surrounded with people that I care about and who care about me. Being home has only reinforced this. Which brings me to this anecdote….

On Christmas Day, after we had finished eating the turkey, my whole family piled into the living room to watch the original Star Wars trilogy together. I looked around the living room and saw my sister, BF, my two separated parents (who miraculously still hang out as friends despite no longer being married) –all sitting together & getting along as a family. At that moment I said to myself, Hey, this is pretty awesome!

Going forward into the New Year, I feel optimistic, inspired and motivated. I’m looking forward to lots of other Hey Awesome! moments in 2010.

What are you grateful for?

Green Christmas

When I looked at the date on my last entry I realized its already been a week that I have been on a “blog-cation”. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without updating since I started this blog in August. I started to feel a bit weird this afternoon: light headed, spacey, anxious and then I realized “I haven’t written anything in a week!” and figured that might be it. Its funny how you get used to doing something (writing) and when you stop you actually notice the difference.

So far I’ve been enjoying my “Green” Christmas on the West Coast.

I flew to Kelowna on Friday, spent the weekend there, flew into Vancouver Monday, hung out there for 24 hours & now I am home on the island, at my Mom’s place. The past few days have been a blur of visiting with my grandparents, hanging out with my cousins, aunt & uncles, meeting up & having a birthday dinner with my friend Jean (also a skinnydip reader! hi Jean!!!), wandering around downtown Vancouver, eating good sushi, catching up with everyone here and running around doing last minute Christmas stuff. It’s been a really great week, a little overwhelming but still really awesome.

I’ll be back before the New Year with more of my best of 2009 picks, new editions to “the list”, as well as some other entries. In the meantime, if I don’t talk to you before Christmas (and you celebrate): Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

The Important Wishes

Yesterday I walked downtown and spent the whole afternoon Christmas shopping. Not only did I come home with some cool gifts for everyone I love, but I also came home with the flu! I was standing in the middle of the Toronto Eaton Center (aka, Holiday Shopping Hell) when suddenly my whole body started to hurt and I felt like I was going to pass out. By 7pm I was at home, curled up under two afghans, soup in hand, shaking with the chills, watching Ugly Betty and basically feeling like I was going to die. I was also freaking out because tomorrow morning I’m flying to BC for Christmas. The last thing I want to do is fly sick (Been there, done that, not fun). However, thanks to massive amounts of Vitamin D, I am feeling better today.

After seeing the state of the mall yesterday (it was psychotic to say the least) I realized its so easy to get caught up in the over consumption and spending frenzy that is Christmas. I can’t help but wonder if me getting sick last night was a message from the universe telling me to slow down and take stock of whats really important. So in an effort to do this, here is a list of what I really want for Christmas:

1. Spend quality time with family. (This year I’ll get to see Grandparents & my Mom’s family!- I usually don’t get the chance to see them during the holidays because of geographical restrictions)

2. Have a fun day going for lunch and walking around the city doing some casual Christmas shopping with a friend. (Done! My best friend in the city and I did exactly that on Monday: went for lunch, went and checked out the Anthropologie store, wandered around Queen street West & had a really nice afternoon)

3. Have a day to chill out, work on some jewelry design ideas and write out Christmas cards. **

4. Go skating outside, drink hot chocolate.

5. Have a day with BF where we go drink Starbucks holiday beverages & go for a long walk around the city. (Done–Two weekends ago!)

6. Spend Christmas Eve Day with my Best Friend & do all of our usual 24th traditions which include: eating homemade macaroni & cheese for lunch, going to see the Christmas tree display at the Empress Hotel (where we take lots of nerdy photos of us with all the trees) and exchanging gifts.

7. Do something good for someone else. (I have this puffy Baby Phat bomber jacket that’s been sitting in my closet for years –a relic from my brief “Ghetto Fab” phase–I never wear it but its super warm so I am going to donate it. Along with a bunch of other clothes that I figure people could use around this time of year. Also, BF and I are going to donate some $ to a village in Zambia that are trying to raise funds to build a school)

8. Reconnect with some old friends who are also home for the holidays.

9. Pig out on tasty Eastern European home cooking. (My family does this every Christmas Eve)

10. Try and actually enjoy the holidays as much as possible.

** I still have lots of blank Christmas cards that need homes. If you haven’t requested your Skinny Dip Christmas card, it’s not too late! Email me your address at I will be writing & sending them out this weekend (so, they’ll be “slightly after Christmas” cards, which is kind of the norm for me anyways.). Don’t be shy, I want to send cards to my readers!

I’m leaving early tomorrow morning for the West Coast. I’ll be there from Dec. 18th- Jan 7th. I’ll be without internet access at least until the 23rd or 24th. So, just in case you don’t see any posts from me next week that’s why. In the mean time I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

{Photo found via We Heart It)

What are some of your favorite things to do during the holidays?

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I know I’m probably too old to still be writing to you but I noticed some of the other big kids in blog-land have posted letters so I thought I would too (plus its a good excuse to make one of these fun collages!). Between writing exams, Christmas shopping, working like crazy, and dealing with family stuff–everyone is so busy during the holiday season. When I’m stressed and have a to-do list a mile long, I’ll often find myself procrastinating online. You of all people, probably have a lot of crap to deal with this time of year (elf drama, obsessive compulsive list checking, work-shop assembly line malfunctions & those horrible mall visits). I’m sure there are times where you just want to curl up on the couch next to Mrs Claus with your MacBook, say “Fuck it all!” and read Perez Hilton for awhile before you have to go back and deal with the latest Christmas crisis. Don’t worry. I get it.

So, in case you stumble across my blog, here are some Christmas ideas for me. This is totally just for fun. I’m pretty lucky that there aren’t many material things that Iong for/need. There are always crazy things I fantasize about, but in general I am happy with what I have. So, here are a few sensible items that I could actually use.

1. A new bathrobe. You sent me one of these many years ago when I was in university. I loved my white spa-like bathrobe but unfortunately the years and many morning coffee spills were not so kind to it. A few years ago I finally had to send it on to the big old clothing pile in the sky. RIP old bathrobe! We had some good times together: cozy morning coffees, staying up late together talking to boys on msn, comforting me when I was too hungover to get dressed. I miss you and its time for a replacement.

2. Some new leather gloves. These gloves by Philip Lim 3.0 are very cute but I doubt they would stand up to a Canadian winter. Living in the North Pole I’m sure you understand that sometimes you have to adjust your fashion choices to suit the harsh environment (I assume this explains why you’ve adopted the red and white fun fur suit. I bet its warm and the pijama like construction probably prevents chafing during those long nights out on the sleigh. Or maybe you just like it). Anyways, for gloves something simple, black, leather & warm would be great.

3. A nice business card holder. Right now I’m using this card holder/change purse by Coach. Its cute, but it kind of squishes my cards a bit which I don’t like. This guy once tried to pick me up on the subway by handing me his business card and the card was GREASY. (Santa, how does this happen?!! Had he been eating a burger right before he met me?! Obsessed with hand cream?! Do I even want to know?!). I don’t ever want to be that guy. Not that I’d ever have a greasy business card, but wrinkled or slightly dog-eared cards don’t exactly scream professionalism either.

4. An American Apparel Gift Certificate. Santa, I’ve officially slipped over to the dark side and embraced A.A.– American Apparel that is! (although during the height of my messy university partying career, the other one might have been helpful). I resisted the lure of American Apparel for many years, mostly because I was creeped out by the company’s pervy owner who apparently (according to urban legend) likes to encourage his employees to masturbate while they’re at work (whoa, that’s one staff bathroom I’m glad I don’t have to use!). This fall I finally admitted that they actually have a lot of great basic pieces. And for someone like me who once they find something they really like, likes to buy it in as many colours as possible its perfect. (I’m sure you can relate. I bet you buy multiples of those red and white suits. You must. Either that or your dry cleaning bills are astronomical)

5. Anything off of my Aritzia wish list. Because I can always use more clothes to wear to work, and they have what I like. Go see my friend Deb. She’ll hook you up with all the good stuff. Maybe you can even buy a little something for Mrs Claus while you’re at it. I bet she’s been eyeing the Marc Jacobs bags.

6. Some new Naughty but Nice lingerie. Because if all else fails, you know I am a sucker for pretty undies.

7. The new-ish Dave Eggers novel. Because Eggers is awesome and I’ll need something to read while lying around, sipping egg nogg in my scandalous lingerie/bathrobe/saucy American Apparel knee socks/leather gloves combo.

Thanks Santa!

Love, Milk & Cookies,

Skinny Dip

What’s on your wish list?

Sex with the Ex

BF reads almost everything that I write and always offers great constructive criticism. He pushes me to write in my own voice, to write often to and to write well. A few weeks ago, right after I wrote this entry we were sitting around the kitchen table reading it over, while Sloan’s “The Other Man” played in the background. BF looks up at me from behind my laptop says, “This post is really good. However, –and please don’t take this the wrong way– I think you need to dig deeper. Its cool that you’re talking about how you dated these unavailable guys but I feel like you’re just skimming the surface. You need to get to the core of the issue and explain WHY you did it”. And he’s right. If I’m really going to be skinny dipping here, I can’t do that by only getting my toes wet, I need to jump in feet first. So, I’ve decided to write a series of posts aboutmotivation, or more precisely: What motivates us do we do things that we know aren’t necessarily good for us?

So, here is PART I of “Knowing its Wrong but Doing it Anyways”


You dated someone. You broke up. At some point you started sleeping with them again, but you never “got back together”. You knew this wasn’t the best idea, but you did it anyways. Sound familiar? Maybe it does or maybe it doesn’t. I’ve definitely been down this road before. I knew it wouldn’t end well but I did it anyways. WHY?

I think the reason I fell into this pattern so easily with one of my ex’s was because our relationship was predicated on sex. Within twenty minutes of us meeting at Element Bar, we were outside in the back alley next to the club, me with my back pinned against the graffiti-ed wall, legs wrapped around his waist, him with his hands up my skirt, both of us tearing at each others clothes, making out. I found out his name during the cab ride back to my house. A few weeks later, I had a big house party for all my friends. Mr. Ex and I ended up in my basement laundry room having sex on top of the machines, while our friends partied upstairs. We emerged an hour later, to disapproving glares from friends who had guessed what we were up to. We laughed it off. We were 21 and couldn’t help ourselves. This was the thing: my attraction to him was so strong that it over ruled any kind of good judgment. I stopped caring what people thought or who got hurt by our actions (even if the person getting hurt was me). Sex was the one thing that worked between us. It was everything else that didn’t: lack of trust, commitment issues, emotional baggage from previous relationships, his infidelity. I knew our relationship was doomed from the get-go, but it didn’t stop us from being attracted to each other. A year of bizarre sexual escapades later, we broke up.

Within a few weeks of us “breaking up” we were sleeping together again. Here are the reasons why this happened (and why I think we tend to sleep with ex’s in general).

Aka “How I rationalized what I was doing wasn’t bad for me, when really it was”

1. Its Comfortable. Just because you break up with someone doesn’t necessarily mean you want to give up sex completely (especially when it’s good). But, a break-up leaves you emotionally vulnerable. Sometimes it feels safer to just keep yourself open to the same person, rather than risk opening yourself up to someone new.

Its Convenient. You already have a relationship. You can call them up at 2am and chances are they’ll come over, sometimes with a bottle of wine. Plus, they already know how everything works & what you like. If the sex is good, why waste a good thing?

It keeps the notches on your bed post to a minimum. One night stands have never been my thing and I’ve always tried to keep the number of people I’ve slept with to a minimum (although good intentions sometimes fail). Faced with the possibility of having a repeat of Rock ’em Sock ’em Rodeo Man, I figured it was much easier to just booty call the ex.

Here is a truth about myself: I sometimes have a really hard time letting go of people. Which brings me to reason #4, the most dangerous reason of all:

4. I still really loved him and I wasn’t ready to let go. I knew it wasn’t really healthy but, I figured by sleeping with him I’d be able to hold onto a piece of him. Also part of me hoped we’d get back together. I’m embarrassed to admit I ever felt this way, but it’s the truth. So, I decided to settle for table scraps from him, instead of the full meal. But, there is only so long that you can remain emotionally starved before you go insane.

Eventually I ended things for good.

That was years ago and I’ve had a lot of time to reflect since then. I’ve come up with a new list.

Reasons why sleeping with your Ex is BAD NEWS.
(aka “Things we know we are true, but we ignore when we’re doing the ex”)

1. It delays the inevitable and prevents us from moving forward. To use the band-aid analogy, it always hurts less when you rip the band-aid off in one sweep. It’s painful but quick. Sleeping with your ex is the emotional equivalent of pulling the band-aid off one painful hair at a time. What could have been a relatively quick break-up, was drawn out into a six month painful affair. My emotional and physical attachment to him prevented me from doing what I should have been doing during that time: getting over him, healing, moving on, working on myself, & meeting new, better guys.

3. “No Strings Attached” doesn’t work: In an ideal world, consenting, mature adults who used to date could have great sex together without any kind of emotional repercussions. But, in my experience, the opposite is usually true. One person always gets the short end of the stick: they end up with stronger feelings and eventually get really hurt. You can never guarantee that this won’t happen.

3. He’s using you!! Oh this a big one ladies! Looking back this dude had the ideal situation: he got to sleep with me on a regular basis but without the pretense of a “relationship”, he didn’t have to be committed or accountable to me. I wasn’t stupid, I knew I was letting him have his cake and eat it too. But I still wanted him. I lied to myself and thought “I’m getting sex too, so I’m using him just as much as he is using me”. However, every time I saw him walk out my door in the morning and I was left to deal with my messy emotions, I knew this wasn’t true.

4. Lying to yourself is emotionally exhausting: in order to keep up this charade you have to lie to yourself A LOT. I told myself all the classic lies, “This doesn’t mean anything” “We’re just having fun” and the worst of all “I’m happy with the way things are”. Eventually though, you do have to deal with reality and reality hurts.

5. When the reality is they’ve met someone new–it hurts extra bad. I think a lot of women once they’ve slept with someone will form an emotional bound to that person. By continuing to sleep with that person after you’ve broken up with them that bond doesn’t get severed the way it should under normal circumstances. If I had taken that time to get over him (instead of sleeping with him) I’m sure I would have hurt less when I found out he was seeing someone new. Instead, I found out he had met someone new while he was still sleeping with me—a smack in the face that hurt like hell.

6. Your ex may be a giant slut like mine was. I found out I wasn’t the only girl, there were many, many other girls. While he was sleeping with me, he was also sleeping with this new person, and three other people. At least these were the ones I found out about. I have good reason to believe there were more. In this day and age, people shouldn’t mess around with this kind of stuff. I’m really, really fortunate that even though I dated this dude, I remain completely and 100% disease free. But then again, I was always careful (but imagine what could have happened if I hadn’t been?!). If you think your ex may be sleeping with someone else on the side (just to be safe, naturally assume they are) and you still want to sleep with them, then at least do what I did: be careful & practice safe sex. No matter how much you think you still love this person, engaging in risky behavior with them is never worth the cost to YOU. Because at the end of the day, all you have is you. So take good care.

This is all to say, I used to be the kind of girl who pulled the band-aid off, slowly, carefully, painfully. I’ve come to realize that its better to just rip it right off, even if you lose a bit of hair along the way. It grows back.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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