Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What's a real friend?

Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. - Mohammed Ali

It took me 30 minutes to find that quote. There are so many tacky friendship quotes that exist, I can't get over it. For none made me emotional, except for this one.  Is it more special? Not really. But it's so true. In a world that completely surrounds us with social media, we have 748 friends, we are in contact with so many different people, but are these people really our friends? And has the meaning of friendship evolved?


I tend to analyze friendships around me and some of the quotes you may find on the net depict a perfect friendship picture. The friend that will take a bullet for you, that knows you more than you know yourself, that feels it in their bones that you are unhappy, that doesn't give up on you when you have given up on yourself. How many of us have friends like this? 1 or 2. Well if you, you are damn lucky. Because friends like those don't exist anymore, or exist much less. Is it our own fault? Have we become too selfish to spend time nurturing our friendships and spend our time on our own self-improvement? Are we not as dependable as we used to be? Do we put our spouse before our friends? I think a lot of this may be related to how we have become more individualistic throughout the years. We fight for  us instead of fighting for each other. We learned that in order to be happy with others, we need to be happy with ourselves and get lost in this quest for happiness for ourselves. Of course Im exaggerating this a lot.  But I have noticed a lack of actual care for others in general. 

We are now lucky if we have 1 or 2 amazing friends that we are sure of that would come running at 4am if you were stuck somewhere. And after several conversations with older people than me, they confirmed that those people change throughout your life. Your best friend at 15 won't probably be your best friend at 25 and maybe not your best friend at 35 and so on. I see my little cousins and their facebook profiles : OMG WIFEY YOU ARE SO HOT. "You are the most wonderful person ever", "You are so damn gorgeous, can I marry you", "I love you sooooooooo much <3 <3 <3" can be found on EVERY SINGLE PROFILE picture, 25 comments are normal and it seems that you have 1 gazillion friends. But times change, you leave school, you start work, you aren't around the same people 24/7 and you need to put effort into building your friendships, they don't just stick around. And sometimes, the things you had in common disappear and you find new people with whom you share so much more. And the old friends, will remain that, old friends, the ones you once shared everything with, but now times are different, and it's OK...

The key is to nurture the friendships and spend time on them because unlike family, they don't love you unconditionally. I have learned that people will treat you as you treat them. If you go out of your way, chances are they will go out their way. They feel the love and return the love. I think as a whole, we should pick those few, and build those friendships to make them last as long as possible. Trust, communication, love, all elements we find in relationships need to be as prominent in friendships as well.     We need to re-evaluate our values and set them back in the right spot. Then again, some of you might enjoy the comfort of ok friends, because you're an ok friend. You get what you project. And I think this applies in all circumstances!

As my last words of wisdom, call up a friend that you haven't spoken to in a while tomorrow, go for drinks, go for dinner, go play pool, catch up. We just need to make the time to spend it on nurturing and the fruit of our efforts will be definitely delicious.

N.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Is Sex Taboo?

In light of the removal of my last post, which yes, was a little saucy. I decided to develop on that. You see, I understand both schools of thought, one being how someone's sex life should be kept personal and secret because that's what keeps things interesting, and then there is the other where sex is appreciated by all and why not talk about it and help each other out.

I'm not a sex therapist and no expert in the matter at all. I do want to keep my own stuff private and it should be that way.  But I do think that it is an important subject and not all of us talk about it because we are shy, we are worried what others may think or we just like to keep our things to ourselves, whatever your reason may be, that's fine. This is why I'm trying to convince my sexologist friend to write for my blog. In this case, as an expert, she can really go into more details..and even answer your questions about certain things you may be experiencing. I must say, she told me : Wow N. you were so ladylike in your approach. Well ... of course. I do believe in privacy, and in keeping the more direct terms for the experts. So instead of a post coming from me who just wants to give ideas and open your minds to these ideas, I will try to have her go into more detail, it might be a little more graphic because she was surprised how non-graphic I was... So for those who are insulted, embarrassed or don't feel like reading about this.. I will warn you in advance.

My goal in all of this is to talk about all things that women deal with (and sometimes men can also relate, which is great too!) and honestly, sex is a pretty big part of our lives. I do believe in keeping our own experiences private, but I do also beleive in communication, progression and wanting to know more. We shouldn't be embarrassed to talk about it, but open to change, possibilities, etc.

So, hoping for a brand new collaboration soon. Stay tuned. The Art of Sex maybe? Who knows, titles haven't been decided yet... because she hasn't even accepted yet. She was just my silent contributor on my last post...So Im hoping for something a little more permanent!

Until then, hope you enjoy what you read. Remember, it's all a mish mash of things that go through my brain, sometimes based on real experiences I lived, or on other people's experiences, or on things I read about. My goal is not to put my own life out there (except for the rare times I do), but to create discussion, to get you thinking. I like to be challenged, and I like when people disagree. I encourage comments. Remember, there is an anonymous feature which can allow you to comment on anything I write without me knowing who is writing... so if you are my best friend and hate what I say, well chances are I won't even know.. (well unless I recognize your style of writing!) So, be honest and participate!
N.

Friday, 15 July 2011

My Ideal

Yesterday, my entire blog was challenged. As I sat at dinner with a bunch of people I hadn't met before, I was shocked to hear a man say out loud: "No I'm not in love with my girlfriend". So I asked, how long have you 2 been together? Thinking he would answer me something like, a couple months, boy was I wrong. He answered: "2.5 years more or less, on and off". 2 AND A HALF YEARS, and he's not in love! So I asked him, well.. why are you still in a relationship if you aren't in love anymore? I guess I pressed the wrong button.

For a while now, I have convinced myself of the type of man I was looking for. Someone that made laugh, that made me feel sexy, that has ambition, that I enjoy spending time with, that I would look at when I wake up and be happy that I'm laying next to him, no matter the ups and downs that we might have. I'm not difficult, but I am looking for a true love, a love that will make it through marriage, babies, renovations, arguments, disagreements, sickness, beautiful moments.. you name it. I was quickly told that I have an ideal and that reality doesn't work that way. I was told that in reality, you find someone that you enjoy spending time with, and well, sometimes that's as good as it gets. Really? I guess there I go again with my optimism, with my idea of not settling for something mediocre. Yes I have been technically single for almost 2 years now. This person quickly pointed out that I was just being too difficult and that I'm cutting out a lot of men out there. He actually stated that some people play on the ice and some people coach, and I'm a coach. We argued because I'm not just a coach, I play on the ice as much as any other. Yes I know I'm more difficult. And so? Does that mean that I should change my criteria? No. I'm not that desperate to find anyone. I don't want anyone, I want that special someone. Id rather be alone that badly matched. But as I have seen, this opinion isn't shared by many. Sometimes, you find someone that keeps you company, that you like, that satisfies you, but that you are not head over heels for, and that's just OK... I guess we are all different. I don't think I'm better by wanting an ideal and only settling for this ideal, I know what I want and I know what I want for my future. It's not impossible.

On the other hand, when you are in something that you find just mediocre, why not go out of your way to make it that much better. Try new activities, have fun sex nights, take a getaway, go play pool, go bowl, go out just the 2 of you, spice it up and try everything. If you are in a so-so relationship, why not do anything possible to be happy in it. The guy last night kept on mentioning that you can only control 50% of the deal. Yeah, well why not push that 50% and convince your partner to want to make a difference too. Considering that you are spending all this time with this other person, why not make this time as enjoyable as possible. Why have we become lazy when it comes to working on a relationship? Instead, we just let it die, or we give up. Is it because we live in a city full of people and that we can find distractions anywhere we look? I tend to think so.

Living in the city as opposed to living in the country gives us so much more opportunity....from happy hours to bar hopping, we are always surrounded by people of the opposite sex. I can't even tell you how many men I have met that were ermotionnally unavailable, it would scare you. The temptation is out there, and some are just so ready to seize it. Who will know? This way, you have the stability of a relationship, and the thrill of a fling - best of both worlds! Scandalous! But this is what the real world is like. I know it because Im living it. If only I could tell you the stories, but sadly, I don't want to get all these men in trouble because I guess Im just nice like that... I have seen that even the nicest of men can be deceiving. The ones you never thought WOULD EVER DO THAT.. do. Fidelity becomes an option, not an obligation and my trust level goes through the basement. How to trust a man after what I have seen?Ah could I go on. 

So I guess, as my last words of wisdom, tie your man up with a leash. haha! no no, but keep your relationship exciting, listen to your man, give him the attention he needs, be spontaneous, be different and keep the spice going so he or you won't need to see elsewhere! And... if you have an ideal, I say STICK TO IT! No settling. I'm not going back on that one. 

I would love to get your opinion on any of this, are you OK with the OK man or do you have an ideal?

Have a nice weekend!

N. 

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Feels good to give back...

From a young age I have seen my mother get involved with all sorts of organizations, organising fundraisers, events, helping others that were not as fortunate as herself and I always admired the effort she put into it. Now that I'm all grown up, I guess I'm following in her footsteps. I work for a non-profit organization (which I will get to shortly), I volunteer for non-profit organizations on my free time.. so I guess you can say, my life is pretty much dedicated to helping others.

La Soiree One Drop in NYC
Of course, my true passion rests in events, not actually attending them, but organising them. The joy I get from organising an event can be as strong as a tennis player winning their match, a baseball player scoring a homerun or a hockey player making the breakaway goal that allows his/her team to win the game! It's a true passion. I can stay up late just thinking of the different things I can come up with, I dig through my brain, trying to find creative ways to get out of messes, think of every single detail that entails organising an event.. and I just can't get enough of it. Now, I'm lucky enough to be part of the Cirque du Soleil family, working for the One Drop foundation which was started by Cirque founder Guy Laliberte.  At One Drop, we work on 3 main projects. First, we work on water projects around the world, helping build infrastructures for countries who don't have clean running water, we also have projects of awareness for these Third-World countries where we put up shows and circus acts showing the population how to be careful with water, to not drink unsafe water, to treat unsafe water. We also work on awareness projects in developed countries, showing the population how to be careful with the water we have, to not waste, to not buy water bottles, but water gourds instead, to not run the water when brushing your teeth, but only use it when necessary. And the third project we work on are the One Drop fundraising events, which is the team I'm part of. Basically, all the money we use for the 2 others, we get it from these events.

La Soiree One Drop is a dazzling benefit event that allows guests to enjoy a Cirque show, along with a pre-show cocktail and post-show party! We have 6 of these a year. This year, we taking NYC, Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, Paris and Las Vegas by storm. So, lets just say, that until Dec 3, I will be QUITE busy! Chances are that I might even move to the West Coast for the month of November, for the LA and Vegas events. I will be responsible for ticket sales, communications with the donors, party planning (my favorite!) and relations with the Cirque for the Vegas event. A dream job I must say. Well for anyone that knows me well, they know this is exactly the right thing for me.

My 2010 Dragon Boat team!
As for the other fundraisers I am involved in, I'm also captain of a dragon boat team for I'm on a Boat! for the Cedars Cancer Institute. We are a team of 20, raising money for Cansupport, a programme that helps cancer patients and their families deal with the disease. We need to raise $10,000 to race and every year, we have events to raise money from happy hours to poker events to corn roasts and we also have the advantage of being on a team with people working in different companies, so we get these companies to help us raise the funds we need. It always a very fun experience and I love doing it. It's my 3rd year as captain of my team and I hope to be involved with this cause for a long time!

The 3rd foundation I'm involved with is the Starlight Foundation, which is like the Make-A-Wish foundation, helping children with terminally ill diseases have a better life. To me, there is nothing more sad than a child who can't be a kid and I guess this is why I get involved. I am lucky enough to have a pretty good life and I think everyone should have that right. For the Starlight Foundation, me along with Anick Beaulieu, are organising a Halloween event at the Loft Hotel on Oct 28. Starlight, star bright, dress up as your favorite star tonight" is the slogan of our evening. So of course, the theme is Hollywood Glamour! We will have a great DJ, a candy bar, open bar, photographers and tons of more things we are still working on! We will really make this a night to remember and we hope that all you young professional ones will be there to support this fabulous cause. More details to come soon!

If you are interested in donating to any of the causes mentioned, please see their websites below:

- ONE DROP - http://www.onedrop.org/ 
You can even join the Youth One Drop facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/onedropyouth
- Get more information about the Starlight Foundation - http://www.starlightcanada.org/

You know, if you can't give any money, give your time to help others... It is the most gratifying feeling in the world! There is an Arab proverb that says: “If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart” :)

N.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Cooking with Nicolas

For a while now, I have seen a friend of mine post on Facebook delicious pictures of the recipes he comes up with....I can't get over how delicious it looks and offered to give him a special spot on my blog! Recipes won't be available yet, but you can take a look at the pictures, and if you insist, I'm sure he might be able to help you make these wonderful dishes... take a look at some of the delicious things he has come up with! Titles are in French.

Gaspacho, salsa de mangue et aneth

Mac'n'cheese trois fromages, pancetta bites, persillade aux tomates et bleuets

Theme: Figs - Crème de bleu et amandes grillées.


Theme: Figs - Cheddar fort, basilic et prosciutto


Muffalata
More to come soon... man it makes me hungry! To me, there is nothing more enjoyable than having a delicious home cooked meal with a great wine!

Props to Nick and his wife Jo who come up with these DELICIOUS meals! More images to come soon...

N.