Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hello 2010

I've never been very good at either nailing down meaningful New Years resolutions or then keeping them, for that matter. My half hearted attempts at trying to change my careless spending habits and penchant for junk food usually collapse by about January 3. No joke. I really like shopping and sugar. 

As we head into a new year and I get to shed this 364 day old one, it is impossible to ignore the hope of a fresh start. I get to leave old disappointments behind, have yet more distance from bad choices and wipe my hands clean of 2009. A new decade, a world of new possibilities. Anything can happen. 

My resolutions for 2010 are less about ceasing shopping and more about continuing to shape the person I'm trying to become. Yes, at 30 I'm still very much evolving, and turning (I hope) into a person I can be proud to be. A person who will one day be a sound and steady mate and the best and most patient of mothers (like mine). A person who will be a more thoughtful and level daughter and a more generous and kind friend. A person who looks at the glass as half full and tries to live every day as if it counts (because it does). 

Dear 2010,
I have no idea what yet to expect from you, but you are a gift so I hope you are wonderful. See you in a day. I'll be the one in sequins.
Love, Ally Redhead

Resolutions for 2010
1. Stop procrastinating. No one ever got anything done by burying their head in the sand. Be an adult and do the things that you don't want to do, because they have to get done. Call the student loan centre, apply for jobs, straighten things out at UBC. I am the worst procrastinator and it needs to stop. In another day (ha ha). 

2. Be a more thoughtful and generous person. Be the first one to pick up the phone or contact a friend you want to see, instead of waiting for them to get in touch with you. Send birthday cards. Give genuine compliments. Be generous of spirit. Kindness is the nicest gift of all.

3. Stop dwelling on the "what might have been" and live the life I have been given. Live for today and its realities. Don't look back and don't regret. Don't make someone a priority when they barely make me an option. Embrace the future, the unknown, new possibilities and the endless fish in the sea. 

4. Stop self obsessing. The world isn't about me. Stop thinking it is so personal. Stop taking everything so personally. Get out of this head, stop being selfish and look at the wide world in front of me. 

5. Be more positive, work on being happy. For some people this is easy and for me it is work. Not work exactly, but not... simple. Work on being happy. Take pleasure in the little things, like seeing a cute raccoon at night while I walk to my car or my daily yummy Starbucks or one of my favourite songs on the radio or Lulu biting my toes. Don't descend into that dark space but try very hard to stay buoyant and positive. 

(Stay tuned... there may be more as they come to me!) 

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Quote of the Day-New Years Edition

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

-T.S. Eliot

Red Rubber Reflections

I had to laugh when I visited my favourite blog, Cupcakes & Cashmere, today. Emily is undoubtedly my style guru. The girl is fearless and bold when it comes to fashion and whether or not I'd wear it myself, she always pulls off the most amazing looks. Therefore I felt utterly vindicated in my style choice when I saw this post today. I received the exact same red Hunter wellington boots for Christmas and have scarcely taken them off since I opened them (even though we have been rain free in Vancouver)! I love throwing on the cheerfully hued rubber boots with my jeans and grey coat and walking out the door!
They may not be the most chic of footwear but they certainly bring a smile to my face.

Now if only it would snow...

ps- I've been dying for these boots since seeing
remember this?

On Christmas morning, in my flannel pj's and new boots!

(Photo 1 and 3 via Cupcakes and Cashmere)

Soon to Be Mr. & Mrs. Reid!

Christmas this year may have brought the loveliest gift of all~ my beautiful best friend has gotten engaged! Yes, Santa brought her a fiance and a gorgeous diamond ring! Leah and Greg have been madly in love for four years and will marry in September of 2011. I can't wait to be by my best friend's side along the way as she prepares to wed her soulmate. I couldn't be happier for two of the most generous, thoughtful and loving people I have ever met. 

Congratulations, my loves! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful and happy holiday
love Ally Redhead and Lulu

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Brunch

A lovely moment of relaxation amidst the chaos of the holiday season~ my lovely friend and co-worker Jennifer had myself and Nicole (the third of our work trio) over for an incredible Christmas brunch this past Saturday. We literally feasted (and I do mean feasted) on both cinnamon chocolate chip or rum and egg nog pancakes (or both!!), goat cheese frittata and bacon off of Jen's Vera Wang wedding china and drank sparkling rose wine out of crystal flutes. It was amazing and I ate until I could eat no more! On top of Jen's amazing skills in the kitchen~ she hand made the gorgeous beaded initial Christmas ornaments (above), inspired by the goddess of Christmas herself, 
Martha Stewart of course. 

It was a wonderful day and one I hope to repeat many times in the future~ both for the fantastic feast and, mostly, the friendship.

Friday, December 18, 2009

6 Shopping Days Left!

The holidays are so busy for everyone~ myself included! As energy runs low and the To Do list finally starts to dwindle, blogging time also shrinks. I miss overflowing with inspiration for this love of mine... but please stay tuned for fun posts next week. In the meantime, here are a few beautiful images to take you into the last weekend before Christmas! 

Happy shopping and celebrating everyone! 


Monday, December 14, 2009

Best Friend Christmas Day

enjoying girl's day 

with our festive head gear and Lulu in front of the tree!

embracing our tiny first fall of snow! 

my beautiful best friends

The Big Topic

Two of my best friends came over for a spontaneous girly Christmas afternoon yesterday and while we drank Baileys over ice and ate sugar cookies we did what girls do best (or most)~ we talked boys. Boys boys boys. Could there be a topic that girls turn to more? If there is, I don't know what it could be. 

Our ratio on my sofa was 2:1, two unmarried versus one married, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. The beautiful, madly in love and blissfully married Christina can sure as hell talk boys with the best of 'em. Our venting (that would be Nic and myself) turned, effortlessly, into the "big" topic. The one thing we girls could talk endlessly about. 

The Soul Mate (capital letters, of course). I think humans are split down the middle on this topic. Most girls I know wholeheartedly believe in the concept of having a soulmate. The men in my life that I have asked are rather more ambivalent about the idea. Despite that, I think most people would like to know that they get to be with the love of their life, for their life. 

Nicole and I... and soulmates. We wonder if we have met them already. Have we? There are men in our life, in our past, that we wonder about. What is a soulmate? The person you can never stop thinking about. The person who understands you and wants to know you, inside and out. The person you can't give up on, no matter what. The person who makes you laugh, think, dream and melt in one incredibly beautiful package. The person you wonder if you can live without. 

Have I felt this? Maybe. Do I know for sure? Of course not.

Soulmate discussion... to be continued....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Little Notes

Dear snow,
Please come. You were here by now last year and you were so beautiful and festive. I can't wait to pull on my boots and troop around in you. Please, please come! 

Dear vendor on Robson Street selling roasted chestnuts,
You are wonderful, filling the air with scented deliciousness. One of the many lovely aromas of Christmas, including cookies baking in the oven and mulled apple cider, simmering on the stove!

Dear Christmas list,
Why are you not shrinking? I keep shopping and wrapping, but you seem only to grow.
ps- Why oh why is everyone on my list so hard to buy for? I need to find those perfect gifts and it is seeming impossible! Sigh. 

Dear incredibly nice people who come into work,
Thank you for continually maintaining my faith in the human race. Nice people rock. 
(Dear meanies, Cheer up.)

Dear Death Cab for Cutie,
Your latest single, Meet Me at the Equinox, is off the charts outstanding. I am slightly grossed out that it's on the New Moon soundtrack, but I will overlook that, as it's so amazing. Every line is perfection. What can I say? I love music that makes me cry and think at the same time and this definitely does that. 

Dear Kate and Pat's bun in the oven,
What are you, little one? A boy or a girl? I can't wait until your mommy tells me. It's really hard to find super cute, unisex baby wear. 

Dear Christmas, 
I love you but you're a lot of pressure! Still. I love you. See you in two weeks. xo

Christmas at Home

Here are a few images of Christmas around my home~ as you can tell, I get a little overexcited and every surface has to be decorated! I realize it's a little "much" but I adore it for one month of the year. Every time I come home to the pretty tree, the smell of cinnamon scented pine cones and the cheerful decorations I feel warm and fuzzy inside. It truly is a magical time of year! 

Now... if only it would snow! 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quote of the Day-John Lennon

"The more I see, the less I know for sure."
-John Lennon

(Gone 29 years today. Rest in peace, Mr. Lennon)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Smelling Delicious~ One of the Perks of Being a Girl!

Smelling delicious is a hugely important thing for a girl. The same goes for silky soft skin and a sweetly scented home. Bath & Body Works is a mecca for all these things and, until now, was my go-to location for indulgent treats only when visiting the States. Well, now I don't need to dig out my passport and line up at the border to pick up the most heavenly of body lotions and bubble baths (thank goodness, my passport is actually expired)! 

Bath & Body Works has opened a huge store in Richmond Centre, only twenty minutes from downtown Vancouver, and is filled to the brim with its yummy products in amazing scents, such as Warm Vanilla Sugar, Wild Honeysuckle, Rainkissed Leaves and Sea Island Cotton. It is nearly impossible to meander through the store without slathering yourself in a dozen different scented potions or sniff every candle on the shelves. It is the perfect place to finish your Christmas shopping for Mom, your kid's teacher or any hard to please girlfriend. 

I can't wait to stock up! 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Kindness is like snow- 
it beautifies everything it covers."

Smile of the Day

Even on the most "meh" of days any random picture of a cute animal can make me smile. What is it about cute, furry little creatures that brings out the gooiness and best in people? Their innocence and funny peculiarities make them sweet and no matter how blah I feel, I'm instantly transformed to a place of momentary joy

How can you look at these and not smile? Try~ I dare you! 

Babies out for a little stroll! 

Did your heart just melt or what?! 

This pet pig in England likes to jump on the trampoline. 
ps- I'm never eating ham again.

This guy is seriously dreaming of his next meal!

Serce the flying bunny! 

Are you smiling yet? I hope so. 
Happy Sunday! 

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Leap Year

When I saw the above photo on IMDb I immediately had to search for the trailer to Leap Year. It's amazing to me how one photo can conjure such intense emotion. It gave me goosebumps. I, of course, am a sucker for romantic comedies and throw one in a foreign country and I'm a goner. I adore Europe so nearly all my favourite movies are set there. Leap Year stars Amy Adams (a truly gorgeous redhead and two time Oscar nominee) and Matthew Goode (British and yum) as the romantic leads and though the plot seems a little "out there" (the woman is going to propose to her boyfriend in Dublin on Leap Day), the chemistry between the two certainly seems worth the watch. I know it's a light recommendation, but watch the trailer for a few goosebumps of your own! If you're a romantic like me, you'll get them. 

A Cold Winter's Night

If it were up to me I'd be here today. Instead, I will shortly be heading to work (which is festive and cheerful in its own way...kind of). Still, I wish I were heading to this beautiful outdoor skating rink (it would be a long trip, it's Somerset House in England), followed by spiced rum and egg nog, a fire and a night of Christmas movies. In this ideal world, later some gorgeous man and I would go for a walk while snow fell. 
I can't think of anything better. 

ps- I know it's technically not winter yet. Shhhhh....

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Favourite Christmas Music Ever!

I'm truly a nut about all things Christmas, even when it comes to the music. Come December, I love walking into stores that are blasting the determinedly cheerful tunes. I am that person who, on the 1st, puts my burned holiday compilation in my car and doesn't eject it until January. The same goes for the ring tone on my phone (I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas) and what I press play for on my iPod. I truly don't understand people who insist they hate Christmas music! Okay, some of it may admittedly be rather too cheerful or even downright bad, but there are so many beautiful and stirring choices as well. I have honed down the best list over the years, with both old classics and new loves, and have decided to share with you my absolute favourites. These songs are all available for purchase on iTunes and make the perfect holiday season mix for any party or get together. Or burn a few copies and give them as gifts! 

1. Happy Xmas (War is Over) ~ John Lennon
2. O Holy Night~ Josh Groban
3. Christmastime is Here~ The Vince Guaraldi Trio, Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack
4. Carol of the Bells~ John Williams, Home Alone Soundtrack
5. River~ Robert Downey Jr. and Vonda Shephard, Ally McBeal Soundtrack
6. I Believe in Father Christmas~ Greg Lake or Emerson, Lake and Palmer
7. White Christmas~ Bing Crosby
8. The Winter Song~ Eisley
9. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)~ U2 or Death Cab for Cutie
10. Winter Wonderland~ Dean Martin or Bing Crosby
11. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman~ Charlotte Church or The Barenaked Ladies
12. Do They Know It's Christmas?~ Band Aid or Band Aid 20
13. Driving Home for Christmas~ Chris Rea
14. A Spaceman Came Travelling~ Chris de Burgh
15. Baby It's Cold Outside~ Lee Ann Womack and Harry Connick Jr. 
16. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas~ Judy Garland
17. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire)~ Nat King Cole
18. Same Old Lang Syne~ Dan Fogelberg
19. Please Come Home For Christmas~ Eagles
20. I'll Be Home For Christmas~ Bing Crosby

I hope you enjoy this compilation as much as I do! And~ If I had to choose only one CD for the duration of the holiday season I would definitely choose White Christmas by Bing Crosby~ it reminds me of putting up the tree as a child and is truly the perfect mix of all the most iconic Christmas songs. Plus, his voice is as smooth and dreamy as it gets! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Snowy Escape

I want to escape to wherever this is. With a stack of books, a supply of apple cider and gingerbread, cozy socks and Lulu I wouldn't have to emerge until after the holiday madness. Wherever this is, it looks like heaven. My new love affair with minimalism competes here only with my more enduring passion for snow. 


Dream Gifts

A first edition of Alice in Wonderland. A plane ticket to France. A dog. An old, creased book of poetry with notes in the margin. A coffee table. A love letter. A pair of Wayfarers. A pair of red rubber boots. A piece of art. A cozy blanket. A framed photograph. A song. A beautiful boy in a toggle coat and Chuck Taylors. A slice of truth. 

Something. Something real. Something me. 

Have you ever been given the perfect gift? (I am lucky enough to say yes.) What is your dream gift? Something tangible or something you can't touch? 

ps- I also would like the above branch chandelier, please. 

Happy December!

Happy December! I'm looking forward to holiday cheer, late nights wrapping pretty gifts, stolen afternoons shopping with my girlfriends, festive cocktails, lights going up all over the city, old familiar songs, laughter and most of all, (with much hope) snow. My favourite month of the year is here and I'm determined to have a wonderful one! I hope you and your loved ones do too! Spread some holiday joy today! 
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