TBT — When We Were Young

Remember those days, back when you were a child? Those halcyon days when our biggest worries were our last fight with our best friend and our worst scrapes were the ones on our knees? When summer days were filled with friends, laughter, and popsicles — ah, yes, the days of innocence.

TBT - When we were young

I will never forget the times when my brother and I would gather with the neighbourhood kids. We would be outside all day — riding our bikes, picking dandelions, running through the parks — stopping only when our moms called us in for dinner. Some of the best days were spent rummaging through the tickle trunk, dressing up and pretending that we were all grown up.

Don’t you just adore those hats?


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #08

Brynne's Daily Drawing #08



What’s In My Purse?

Blog Post #7

What’s in my purse? I’m not sure that you really want to know.

I was racking my brains for something to write for today’s blog post — frantically tearing my hair out trying to come up with some kind of a topic  — when I noticed my handbag innocently sitting on a chair. I thought, what if I dumped the contents out, took a photo and wrote a post about the contents of my bag? Eureka! I had thought of such a unique blog  article! Wrong – it’s already been done!!

I just found out that this topic — what’s in your bag? What’s in your purse? — is a kind of a thing on the web. I found so many sites with this theme! Who knew? I guess I missed that boat!

Well, I had already upended my purse and the contents lay in a heap on the floor AND I still hadn’t thought of a better topic. So… here’s a little glimpse of the real me — or at least, a peek inside my real purse!


The Contents:

  1. A book. I always have one in my bag. I never know when I’ll get a chance to get a little reading in! This one is Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt.
  2. An apple. Emergency snack?
  3. Keys. Well, everyone has keys in their purse!
  4. Cell phone. Yup!
  5. Itty bitty measuring tape. You know, for measuring stuff!
  6. A lab requisition form. Ahh, yes… gotta get that done!
  7. A little case. For safekeeping receipts.
  8. A hairbrush. Hey, I didn’t know that was in there!
  9. A memory stick. I might need to copy something…
  10. Cheques?? Can’t remember the last time I wrote a cheque!!
  11. Card pouch. (along wth a kajillion cards: debit card, credit cards, id, several points cards, etc.)
  12. Three Lottery tickets! Hmm.…maybe I’m a millionaire right now!
  13.  A five dollar bill. Cash — who uses cash these days?
  14. A book mark. See number 1.
  15. Another bookmark!!?
  16. A coaster. I slipped it into my purse while at a restaurant.
  17. Sunglasses. Purse essential. Even in Vancouver.
  18. Small coin purse. And coins.
  19. A little moleskin. To write notes in.
  20. Three teeny oranges. I better eat those!!
  21. Phone charger. So I can always call/text you.
  22. Various business cards — some are mine! (I obviously need a card case)
  23. Lots of pens. To write in the little moleskine (see #19)
  24. $1.25 Gloves. My hands get cold!!
  25. My Compass card. (I use public transit).
  26. Point & Shoot Camera. Say “Cheese”!
  27. Exhibitor’s nametag for the BC Home + Garden Show
  28. Ikea receipt. Why isn’t this in my little receipt case?? (see #7)
  29. Pay stub.
  30. Crumpled bits of paper. Probably receipts — they should be in that receipt case…
  31. Hand cream. It smells so good and makes my hands feel so soft.

That’s everything (right now!) and it all lives in my purse pretty much as you see it here. Maybe that’s why I can never find anything in there!

Check out some of the sites and pages that I found about the “things in your bag!”
Natasha MR What’s Actually in Your Bag Right Now? – from the Hairpin
Flickr Group: What’s in Your Bag?
What’s in Your Bag? A Tumblr Blog
What’s in His/Her Bag? A website
What’s in Your Bag? A website
Mya Williams: Ladies, Let’s See What’s in Your Handbag! A blog post
Watch the video: What’s in My Purse!

What’s in your bag/purse? Let me know in the comments section!


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #07

Brynne's Daily Drawing #07


The Three Most Important Things in Life

KINDNESS: [Kind • ness]


  1. The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate:
    He thanked them for their kindness and support.
  2. A kind act:
    It would be a kindness on your part to invite her.

Lily-BBlog Post #6

I just signed up to be a RAKtivist at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Also known as ‘RAK’, the Foundation, encourages the spread of kindness throughout communities and neighbourhoods  — everywhere — in the belief that benevolence can change the world.

What is a RAKtivist, you ask? Raktivist stands for Random Acts of Kindness activist. Basically, someone who is kind to others. Someone like you!

Acting with kindness is beneficial — being kind makes you feel good and it makes others feel good, too.

Watch this scientist talk about his research into kindness and its effect upon the brain.

Watch this video: The Science of Kindness by Live Vest Inside

I want to consciously spread kindness as much as I can. I think I’m fairly good at it already, but I want to do more acts of kindness, purposefully, and with intention.

There are any number of lists on the internet that offer ideas on ways to perform acts of kindness, big and small. Having a list reinforces my desire to carry out random acts of kindness and helps me come up with new ways to be kind.

Here is a list 10 of my favourite ideas:

  1. Bring cut up fruit or another healthy treat to the office  to share with your co-workers.
  2. Reach out to a friend or relative that you haven’t seen in a while with an invitation to get together
  3. Post inspirational sticky notes around your neighborhood, office, or school
  4. Purchase an extra bag of dog or cat food and take it to an animal shelter.
  5. Smile and say hello to three people you pass in the street.
  6. Pay a compliment to a stranger while you’re standing in a line or the cashier as you’re paying your bill
  7. Text, Tweet or Facebook a positive message to three people right now.
  8. Pay for someone’s lunch when no one is watching — for a friend a co-worker or, even a stranger
  9. Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
  10. Write your partner a list of things you love about them.

As Henry James said, “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

Check out these Kindness sites:

365 Days of Kindness

Kindness Blog


Random Acts

What random of acts of kindness do you like to do? Share them in the comment section, I’d love to hear from you!


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #06



What’s For Lunch?

MangoShrimpBlog Post #5

I’m hungry! And, I’m drooling thinking about the lunch that my husband and I had at Manis Restaurant on Saturday.

Manis Restaurant is a quaint, little family-owned place that is located just around the corner from where I live. It is tucked into a work/live complex, almost hidden from view. Billed as a Pan-Asian eatery, Manis offers South-East Asian food for lunch or dinner. You will find dishes from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand that will delight and satisfy you. (Does it sound like I am composing an ad for this restaurant? Sorry, I am just remembering the deliciousness that was my lunch — AND as I mentioned — I am HUNGRY!)

So we were puttering around on Saturday, a little housework, a little shopping, a little leisurely strolling through the neighbourhood when we decided that we were a little peckish. Since we were already out and about, we wandered over to Manis for a quick bite. We’ve eaten at this little gem of a place several times and always had great food and great service.

We were seated by the friendliest person. Every time we have visited Manis, this lovely woman has always had a beautiful smile on her face and a gentle, welcoming tone in her voice. She is eager to help with any questions about the menu and is happy to recommend choices when you are in doubt. Next time we go, I must find out her name!

It didn’t take us long to decide what we wanted — Bruce ordered the Coconut Ginger Soup (so good!) which is a light coconut cream soup with chicken, shrimps, baby corn, and mushrooms, while I opted for the Tom Yum soup — a spicy lime & lemongrass broth with chicken, shrimps, baby corn, mushrooms, and tomato. We both selected the Mango and Shrimp Wrap to round out our lunch.

My soup was delicious! The waitress warned me that the soup would be spicy. She was right! It was dragon-breath hot — the kind of spicy that, as my mother would say, “will put hair on your chest!” The lime and lemongrass broth was very flavourful (and not overpowered by the spicy-ness), with enough chicken and shrimp to satisfy my appetite.

Mango2The Mango & Shrimp wraps arrived at our table at exactly the right time — just as my eyes were starting to water. Made with fresh spring mix greens, crisp red pepper, luscious mango slices and prawns all wrapped in thin rice paper and served with hoisin dip. This dish was the perfect partner to the spicy soup. The freshness of the wrap cooled the heat of the Tom Yum and added a sweet flavour to my meal.

Bruce’s Coconut Ginger soup was a delicious concoction —the zing of the ginger tempered by the coconut cream melded perfectly with the chicken, shrimp and vegetables in this light soup.

I can’t decide which combination was better, the Tom Yum with the Mango wrap or the Coconut Ginger soup with the wrap. They were both delicious (Thank you, Bruce, for letting me sample your soup first!). We both left feeling happy and pleasantly sated.

We’ll definitely go back to this restaurant, in fact… I’m hungry now…

Manis Restaurant — five stars!


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #05


Poetry, Things to do

Cherry, Cherry!

Blog Post #4
It may be a cliché, but when the cherry trees bloom, I immediately think of haiku. Perhaps, it’s because in the Lower Mainland of BC where ever you walk in the spring, you walk under a blossoming fruit tree. Cherry, plum, apple – their fragrant, delicate flowers never fail to inspire and awe.

If you live in Vancouver or are visiting, you can participate in the annual Cherry Blossom Festival from now until April 17,  and enjoy the beauty of the city in bloom! Tourism Vancouver even has a guide to the best places to view the 40,000 cherry trees exploding with pink and white blossoms!

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival has been an annual community celebration since 2005. Through music, photography, and art, the festival lauds the delicate blooms, promotes learning about the 35 varieties of cherry trees in Vancouver and features the Haiku Invitational Contest. Want to know more history about cherry trees in Vancouver? Read this.

My friend, Dani, (you can read her lovely heritage garden blog here), once encouraged her friends to participate in Haiku Tuesday on her Facebook page. It was so much fun to create the short poems, and even more fun to read other friends’ compositions. Hmm…maybe it’s time to try that again.

One day last week, I saw a gorgeous cherry tree bursting with blossoms — it took my breath away! So, thinking of haiku, I wrote this little poem:

The spring breeze whispers
petals fall soft at my feet
faint fragrance wafts up

Do you like writing haiku? Join in the festivities and submit your compositions to the 2016 Haiku Invitational!


Brynne’s Daily Drawing #04

Daily Drawing #04


Super Heroes Are For Everyone

MattMurdockBlog Post #3

You may not know this about me but I LOVE superheroes. I grew up reading my brother’s comic books: Batman, Superman, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four, while my Archie comics lay on the floor in my room.

The photo on the left is a Pop Vinyl of my new favourite superhero — Daredevil — shown here in his alter ego, Matt Murdock, lawyer. (More about him later in this post)

I adored Emma Peel and John Steed from the British TV Show, The Avengers. I was crazy for all shows and movies about larger-than-life “do-gooders” that saved the world using their superpowers or just their ingenuity or street smarts — especially if they were women. Role models, you get it! My current fave mainstream TV hero is Peggy Carter from Marvel’s Agent Carter. Peggy, played by Hayley Atwell, is a clever, accomplished, no nonsense top agent of the US Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR}.

I’ve seen most of the Marvel movies (luckily, one of my daughters loves superheroes as much as I do). I loved the Marvel’s Avenger movies, Iron Man, Thor, Spiderman (the one with Andrew Garfield), and most recently, Deadpool. I am eagerly awaiting the premiere of Captain America: Civil War that is coming out this May.

Now, I am  addicted to Netflix! I’ve watched some excellent British TV shows (Luther, The Fall, River), and some great movies like Inside Out, and The Martian on this streaming service. I’m seriously considering giving up regular cable and just watching Netflix!

At the moment, though, I am totally into two Netflix original series — Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Have you seen them?

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Jessica Jones, played by Krysten Ritter – she’s strong, tough and resourceful — everything I want a superhero to be AND she is a woman! I binge watched the first season and I cannot wait for season two. See the Season 1 trailer below.

Then, there is Daredevil. Matt Murdock, blinded in an accident as a child, is a lawyer by day and a superhero crime fighter by night. As Daredevil, Matt is determined to save the streets of New York and his community, Hell’s Kitchen, from crime lords that threaten to control the city. Even though he cannot see, Daredevil uses his heightened senses to battle against those who seek to rule with fear and violence.

I was captivated from episode one — the show is fast paced, heart-racing and the characters are all well-played. I love all the characters: the heroes: Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil is charming, strong, clever, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson is smart, loveable and loyal, and Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page is strong, intelligent and brave. The villains, while evil through and through – are amazing in their roles: Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk is chilling in his nastiness and Toby Leonard Moore as Fisk’s right hand man, James Wesley is cold, calculating and without conscience. So bad you have to love them.

Watch this official trailer for Season 1 – you’ll be hooked.

So the second season of Daredevil has begun on Netflix and I am doing fairly well at pacing myself — I’m not sure, though, how long it will be before I binge watch the entire season. Hopefully, Jessica Jones, season two will air soon. (When will that be, Netflix, when??)

If you love superheroes, and you haven’t watched Daredevil or Jessica Jones, I would highly recommend you check them out.

What are your favourite movies and/or TV shows? Let me know in the comments section!

Brynne’s drawing #3 — Check out all her work here!



Spring Has Sprung

bearcreek1Blog Post #2

It was a gorgeous day here in the Lower Mainland — warm, mostly sunny, no wind — perfect weather to be outside breathing in nature. With your sweetheart!

That’s just what I did today.

Bruce and I headed out early this morning — had a bite to eat, did a bit of shopping, then ended up at Bear Creek Park, one of our favourite places for a leisurely walk among trees and plants and a meandering creek.

beaveractivityWe came across a sign warning us that we were in area that has high levels of beaver activity. I was disappointed that I didn’t see any beavers. However, I did see a bunny scamper across our path, disappearing into a blackberry thicket.

It was a delight to see people strolling through the park. Children playing on the playground, spinning crazily on the merry-go-round, soaring on the swings trying to reach high enough to touch the clouds with their toes, lovers walking hand in hand admiring the budding flowers.

bearcreek2I love the outdoors especially on days such as this one. The sun warming the land, leaves bursting from their buds, flowers blossoming forth — splashes of colour so vivid against the backdrop of leafless trees. I rejoice in the midst of such beauty. On days like this, I see the power of the earth, I believe in miracles, and I am thrilled to be alive.


by Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breezethat it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the houseand unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

Source: Poetry (April 2000)


Brynne’s Day 2 Drawing: “Cosmic Chrysanthemum”

Cosmic Chrysanthemum



Just Do It…

1-1234699141PRLFI have been in quite a slump lately — going months without writing a blog post, sporadically posting here and there. What’s up with that?!

I enjoy writing, for me, it is a great creative outlet. Maybe that’s the problem. My job as a marketing coordinator requires a lot of creative work — dreaming up unique print ads, putting together a newsletter, crafting a weekly company blog post and other design-y things. Most days my brain hurts!! So I have a good excuse to NOT tackle my own blog or social media, right?

Okay, I know, I know! That kind of thinking is simply a cop out — writing for my own blog is completely different than writing for work. It’s a lot more fun and easier, too! I’m the expert on my “random musings” and I can expound on any topic that I like! I just have to sit down and start typing. Resisting the urge to launch “Words With Friends” would probably help a lot too!! [grins sheepishly]

So, today, I am making a change. Today, I am starting my mission to write a blog-post-a-day. Yikes, did I just put that in writing?!!

Yes, yes, I did. It’s a promise to myself — made in public — that will, hopefully, compel me to post on a consistent basis every day!

The inspiration for this challenging adventure didn’t come from anything on the internet. Oh, sure, I have taken up many online “dares” – the annual Good Reads challenge, blog every day for a month on WordPress, that kind of thing. But somehow, I always found an excuse to let it all go — a bad day, or a long day, or  too much housework. Housework? Yeah, right. Take this year — so far I have read 5 out of 50 books for Good Reads’ 2016 Challenge. That’s only 10% of the entire goal — and Good Reads let me know that I am already six books behind!!! Aaarghh!!

No, the idea for this new challenge came from my lovely daughter, Brynne. A talented and imaginative artist, she has experienced the same sort of ennui when it comes to creating her art. Between job searching, and working part-time, she has gone through dry periods where she does no art at all. That all changed when she decided to do a “drawing-a-day” for a year and post them on Instagram.  Kind of like the “Daily Practice Challenge” that Opus Art Supplies held during the month of February, only longer.

#01She started on February 1, and has now done more than 50 drawings — now that’s inspiring!! This is her first one – #cute, eh?

WARNING! The following paragraph is a shameless plug!! If you know of anyone who needs some illustration work, let me know — Brynne is open to commissions, contract and freelance work. If you would like to contact her or if you are interested in her art, you can follow brynnejohnston on Instagram, visit her weebly site, or check out her work on Behance.

Anyway, a spark was lit — Brynne’s daily illustrations have inspired me to write a blog post every day for a year. I realize that a post doesn’t have to be pithy, long, or even relevant to anything that is going in the world at large (or my little world, for that matter.) All I need to do is — write. Write something every day and post it on my blog. That’s it! Who knows, maybe my writing will improve with so much practice! Maybe some people will find my posts interesting or amusing. But that doesn’t matter. All I know is that it feels good to make the decision to “just do it!”

So this is it — Blog Post #1. There’s no going back now…unless I have a mountain of dishes to do…

I’d love to know what you think about blogging, your tips for battling writer’s block, your creative outlets — or whatever! Please share your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to call me out if I miss a day!

Oh, I will be posting Brynne’s drawings, too, so check back to see them — Day 2 drawing coming up tomorrow!