Tuesday, July 28, 2015

They Totally SHOCKED Me!

Tomorrow is my birthday but I've already had an incredible surprise party I wanted to tell you all about.  My friends and husband are so sneaky!

A couple weeks ago my friend Leanne suggested we do a wine tour to celebrate and of course I said yes right away!  It was scheduled for this past Sunday the 26th.  I arranged Jeremy to drive our friends around to visit different local wineries and do tastings, and then drop us at a final winery for a delicious dinner.  

Leanne told me she would take care of all the details and invites so I didn't have to worry about a thing.  And I didn't!  Honestly, it was so great to have someone else plan a lovely afternoon out for my birthday that I didn't give it another thought.  I have so many commitments and entries in my daytimer that one of the best gifts she gave me was just that.

Lol, little did I know what was happening behind the scenes! 

There was never going to be a wine tour. 

Jeremy pretended to arrange a babysitter, Leanne invited a few friends and everyone stuck to the story.  I even saw most of these women last week and no one even gave as much as a sideways glance. Not a one!  These people are sneaky!
Leanne invited me over Friday night to help her purge her closet.  Of course I was game to do that!  I arrived, hair a mess, no makeup and in my comfy clothes ready to sit on her bed, drink wine and be ruthless with her collection.
Lol!  I walked into her house and was blown away!  I actually think I was in shock for about the first hour! 
Leanne planned an at-home blind wine tasting and she out-did herself!  Check out the delicious treats she made from scratch:

Like I said it was a blind wine tasting.  The ladies each brought a bottle which Leanne covered so we couldn't tell what the label was.  She served each, along with cards to fill out with our thoughts on the flavours.  We sat outside on her beautiful deck, munching snacks, sipping wine and chatting.  Perfection.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate. I felt so loved and surrounded by such warmth. (And it wasn't just the wine talking;)
These ladies were so generous with their time and kept the secret like pros. I even got sent home with gifts!  I love the names on these two bottles of red:
As I prepare to close the chapter on this past year, this surprise really capped it off for me.  You know it's been a struggle for me since my last birthday, and I couldn't have done it without the love and support of friends. 
oxox Mare

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mare's Music Monday

It's officially five days until I see Taylor Swift in concert for the second time at BC Place in Vancouver!  Yes I am counting down ;)  Today for Mare's Music Monday, I want to share my favourite songs from each of Taylor's albums.  I've been a fan since about 2007, when I was convinced I was much too old to like this superstar.  Got over that quickly, and have been an avid supporter ever since. So, let's dive into her five part discography:
Taylor SwiftHer debut self-titled album
Should’ve Said No and Tim McGraw are my two faves on this album.  In particular, I believe a career-changing performance was when Taylor sang Should've Said No in 2008 at the ACMs. Watch her stun the audience:

 Fearless: Taylor's second album that has so many gems
In particular I like a couple ballads on this one, White Horse and Forever and Always the piano version.  I think Taylor's live performances have won her so many fans.  This was another turning point for her:

Speak Now: This is a legendary record because Taylor wrote every song herself, without any help. 
Dear John and Ours are two of my favourites off this album, and too faves out of entire library.

 Red: This album came out October 2012 and has never left my van.  If it was possible to wear out a cd, this one would have melted!  It's nearly impossible to narrow down my favourites, but a few stand-outs are
 All Too Well, State of Grace, Red and Begin Again. 
When she performed All Too Well at the 2014 Grammys...well, I still get goosebumps watching this performance:


1989: Her fifth album was a complete shift from country to pop.  Even though many skeptics said it would never work, it's her best-seller to date!
Shake It Off, Style, Bad Blood, and This Love are just a few of my faves, but again tough to pick and choose. 
Still, I will never get enough of this video. Total genius. I will always remember where I was and what I was doing the minute this song was released.  You may think I'm dramatic, but it was life-changing.

What are your favourite Taylor Swift songs? Are you seeing the 1989 Tour? 
oxox Mare

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Plight of the Dreaded Strapless Bra

Today, we are talking ta-tas!  I have debated whether to post these photos, but ladies, you KNOW what I am talkin' about!  
The strapless bra. 
My rib cage hates me just typing those words.  
I've always been well-endowed in the breasty area.  Some ladies will read this and think, "what's the issue?".  You clearly haven't had to bend over and hoist your ladies into a strapless bra and hated it from the second those hooks close. 
I was convinced having double Ds and beyond, I was destined to never have a comfortable strapless.  I passed by cute strapless dresses, ignored halters and accepted my fate.
Until this summer. I swear ALL the cute tops this year require a strapless. I'm not into wearing a halter with a regular bra.  Please don't show the straps!
So, I decided to take my bosom and put an expert to the test.  I went to Peaches, a local lingerie store.  Christina measured me and then went to work. Girl earned her paycheque that day!  I tried on quite a few different models and finally, magically, as if sent down on a ta-ta shaped cloud, one fit.
Not only did it fit, it felt good. 
I didn't want to rip it off and apologize to my ribs. 
Say what? 
I've worn it twice, and one of those times was for SEVEN hours straight!
The bra I chose is a Calvin Klein model.  No, I wasn't going to actually show you my underwear, so instead look at the difference a properly fitting garment makes. 
The first photo is me, delusional, believing I can pull off a bandeau:
No Mare, you aren't 19.  Those ladies have nursed a baby.  Support them!
Moral of the story: YOU can be welcomed into the strapless world.  Yes, you.  Show those girls off! Now, I'm not wearing this every day, but it sure is fun to have the option! 
oxox Mare

Monday, July 20, 2015

Six Months Without Coffee

Today marks six months since I gave up coffee.  This is definitely the longest I've gone without it and I wanted to write a post to celebrate!  In the video below, I talk about how and why I gave up coffee in January.  I filmed it in April, but am still going strong!  I can honestly say I don't miss it and continue to feel either just as tired or awake, depending on the day, as I did when I was drinking coffee.  I am loving iced black tea from Starbucks instead of frapps this summer. I never thought I would like brewed iced tea, but I do! It's even yummy without milk or sweetener, which is fabulous as it's a cool treat without the heavy calories of a frapp! 
I hope you enjoy this video and remember, if this morning radio host can give it up, you can too!
oxox Mare
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