Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ahhh...the memories


This isn't the best picture but I wanted to capture how Gino's boys put together this frame of photos for the funeral and then gave it to my mom. It's a great collage of all the friends and the good times they had. It's awesome that all of them have remained friends. Most of them have been friends since grade 6 and that's something that most of us don't have...friends from the very beginning.

Yesterday, I started off the day by visitng my brother with my mom. We spent an hour adding some flowers, cards and little toys, we also sat and read the cards we received at the viewing/funeral and the guestbook. I wish my dad was able to join us but he had gone earlier to visit before work.  In the evening, my mom, my husband, many of Gino's friends and some of my mom's friends gathered together at the bar my brother went to every Tuesday to play Name That Tune. It was great to sit there with people who spent a lot of time with my brother and also to hear some stories about him. I am truly blessed that his friends continue to stay in my life. I always get this connection to my brother whenever I am with them. I thought that when Gino passed away, they would only be around the first couple of months but two years later, they still email and call, and also invite me to the parties they have.

Gino had a great group of friends. I hope he knew that they all cared about him and miss him as much as I do.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two years ago today...


Two years ago, I lost my younger brother. I know that I have written about it before about how I lost my brother and it's something that I still can't believe. I have only seen it in movies and TV shows, people ending their own life but never, in my wildest imagination, did I think that my own brother would end his. Everyday, I think it's just a really bad dream that I am living and that my brother is just gone on vacation but as much as I want to believe that I will see him again soon, I know that he is gone.

As I promised yesterday, I am not going to be sad and cry today. I honestly am so sick of crying because all the tears and sobbing in the world, won't bring him back. I wish so badly that I could go back in time and help my brother and get him through his troubled times. The only thing is...I didn't see the signs, I had no idea so how would I know that he needed help. I guess instead, I wish that he came to me for help. I would have done anything to ensure that he would still be here today.

So, today, in memory of Gino, I want to share with you some random things about my brother:
  1. Gino idolized Corey Hart when he was younger, like five years old. The song, I Wear My Sunglasses at Night totally reminds me of him.
  2. He also use to carry around an Air Supply album with him all the time.
  3. He has a scar on his cheek. To this day, my parents and I have no idea how he got it. All we remember is that he was in the dark kitchen and next thing we know, he is crying and bleeding with a deep cut on his cheek.
  4. As a young teen, he couldn't touch cotton balls. My mom thinks it's because she made him wear cotton mitts as a baby (to prevent him from scratching himself on his face). In his later teen years, he couldn't touch Styrofoam. 
  5. I let him try his first cigarette when he was nine years old. It was a Marlboro Light. I am a horrible sister. I thought that if he tried it at a young age and was disgusted by it, he wouldn't pick up the bad habit. Well, it backfired on me. He ended up smoking after college (or maybe even during).
  6. Gino always loved video games - Atari, Colecovision, Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Game Cube, Sega Genesis, Playstation 1-3, Xbox, Wii, PSP - he had them all.
  7. He was the first person I know to get the original iPhone. I still have it with me. I won't give it up. He spent alot of money to get it and even drove to the States (I think Chicago) to get it.
  8. He loved playing t-ball as a child and basketball as a teen and adult.
  9. Gino loved music but couldn't play an instrument or sing, although he kicked ass in Guitar Hero and Rock Band. He would have loved DJ Hero.
  10. He called him and his boys, O-Town (because they are all from Oakville). Yes, he actually watched the first season of Making the Band.
  11. We shared a love for the TV show, One Tree Hill. We tried to watch it together whenever we could.
There are so many more things about my brother I would like to share but I figure I have got many years to ahead of me to do so.

G - I miss you like crazy. Things just aren't the same without you. After all this time you have been gone, I know that you are at peace and whatever pain you were feeling is no longer eating at you. There are so many things I wish you were able to experience and it's going to be hard for me to go on knowing that you won't be around to share memorable moments in my life. Just look down on me once in a while and let me know you are okay. Because I will be okay knowing that you are okay.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Memories: My brother

ga innout.jpg
Gino and I - San Francisco 2004

Tomorrow will be two years since my brother left us. I know it's only been two years but it seems like more. I sometimes can't believe that two years have already gone by. I do think about him every day but it's so strange how life just goes on. Often I do think about where he would be today, what he would be doing...but then I think about how maybe if I was there for him more that some of the choices he made in his life would lead him to still being with us today.

This week, I don't want to be sad and grieve again about my loss. Instead, I want to remember all the good times I had with Gino and how every time we got together, he would make me laugh. I hope that those who knew him can do the same this week...to not be sad that he is no longer with us but to remember what he brought to our lives.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Product Review: Olay Regenerist Eye Derma-Pod


One thing I have learned from traveling is that the plane sucks the life and moisture out of your skin. I have always made sure to apply moisturizer during a flight (I specifically use Clinique Moisture Surge) but on my recent trip to Samana, I brought Olay's Regenerist eye derma-pod on my carry-on. These little pods come in handy since they are individually packaged, have their own applicator and can safely be passed through security. If you are like me, I feel my eyes get tired and dry from sleeping and the lack of air circulation on the plane.

Before you land, apply one of the pods to refresh your lids (and apply some moisturizer too while you're at it) to brighten up your face. You won't need to hide your tired eyes and dull face behind big sunglasses when you exit the plane. Not only are the pods a great discovery for traveling but it is an 8-week treatment to younger looking skin and to fill in lines and wrinkles.  As I always say, your age is defined in your eyes, so make sure to always use some type of eye cream daily to eliminate those wrinkles and dark circles that adds years to your actual age.

| blarkness rating: 5 out of 5 |

Product Review: Cover Girl Lash Blast Length


As you know, I am not a fan of brush bristles. I am always down to try out a new mascara, as long as it has plastic bristles. I received this mascara from BlushPretty to try out. I have tried Lash Blast and Lash Blast Luxe but wasn't thrilled with either of them. I am though, in love with Lash Blast Length. It definitely provides length to my lashes without any clumps. I normally swear by waterproof mascaras because they tend to hold a curl longer but this mascara holds the curl without the trouble of removing waterproof mascara. This is a great addition to my makeup bag.

| blarkness rating: 5 out of 5 |

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm back...

Yup, back from Cayo Levantado and I am all relaxed except for the fact that I am back at work. Yesterday was spent doing laundry so until I actually feel like sitting on my laptop, here's a little post on randomness.  I will get it together soon and post pictures and a review from my trip but if you are anxious to see some photos, check out my husband's blog.
  • I discovered that hanging out in a pool all day ruins your nail polish. My pedicure disappeared after only three days.
  • My hair is awesome when I go away. It's so smooth and shiny.
  • I am now known as "yaya" to the little boy - I think the translation of "yaya" is nanny or caregiver.
  • My mom booked our short getaway in Niagara Falls over the Canada long weekend. We will be eating at Brasa. Bring on the meat sweats!!!
  • I am obsessed with Fruit Ninja and Tap Resort app for the iPhone.
  • I bought a pair of Ipanema flip flops, they are very comfy.
  • I have 125 posts to read on my google reader and that's even with me reading some on my vacation.
  • Mike and I were blessed to have no one sitting beside us on the way home. We got to stretch out our legs and also have the little boy sit with us.
  • Shots by LMFAO is totally played out. It's the only song besides Baby by Justin Bieber that will keep the little boy from throwing a tantrum.
  • The movie, When in Rome, sucks...
Stay tuned for some pics soon...it's time for me to go home and finish up laundry.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Last year at this time...



...we were at Royal Hideaway Ensenachos. I have so many fond memories of this trip. Not only because we met a really awesome couple (Wes and Tina who are no longer together) but JP and Lyn surprised us and arrived the following day. I remember the night we arrived at the hotel, Mike and I were at a coffee table with Wes and Tina filling out hotel paperwork. We chatted a bit but we were all exhausted. The next day, we saw them at breakfast and then again at the beach. Just a few nice exchanges of words and a tray of drinks later, we were instantly best friends.  Later that night after dinner, almost everyone from our plane gathered in the lobby to have some drinks - Don, Diane, Kathleen, Nancy, Wes and Tina. This almost never happens that you become friends with those who were on the same plane as you. Don and Diane were like our home away from home parents. Kathleen and Nancy were our neighbours who we constantly knocked on their door for bug spray and snorkel gear. We were all one big happy family. Then you throw JP and Lyn into the mix...

This trip was filled with loud dinners, too much drinking during the day, paddle boat excursions, snorkeling like there's no tomorrow, silly games in the pool...the list goes on and on. We never had a dull moment or an awkward silence, we also never left each other's side. We joked and teased each other constantly. It was like we had been friends forever.  Sadly, this type of vacation will never happen again and also, it can never we replicated. It will forever be a memory that I will hold onto dearly and will always talk about.

As Mike and I get ready for Samana, I look forward to vacationing with a couple we have never traveled with - Jimmy and Adaiah.  It will be interesting because my little boyfriend Marques, their son will be coming too. It's been four years since we have been on vacation with kids. I have a feeling it's going to be exhausting but all in good fun.  The question is...will JP and Lyn surprise us again?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Product Review: Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof eyeliner


I was very excited when I read about this new product from Stila. This waterproof liner claims that if you are "Obsessed for Smudge Pots? You'll go crazy for Smudge Sticks!". The mere mention of Smudge Pots made me think that I have to have this new eyeliner. The thought of bringing only a liner instead of the pot and a brush on vacation, made me rush to the nearest Sephora to pick up one in Stingray (black). Square One was out of stock and let me tell you about my experience at the Yorkdale location.

All the smudge sticks are on the top shelf of the Stila counter display. My BFF and I noticed that there was only Blue Ribbon (navy grey), Moray (olive with shimmer), Purple Tang (purple with shimmer), Koi (gold) and Peacock (cobalt blue). There was no sign of Stingray anywhere.  We asked an sales associate at the front of the store if they had any more (usually they keep stock in the drawers underneath - we were tempted to check ourselves but didn't want to get caught), she replied, "No, we don't". We went to find another sales associate and asked again if there were more Stingray liners. She ACTUALLY went to check and lo and behold, there were two left in the drawer below.  My BFF and I made a point to tell on the sales associate from before that she said there was no more left. I seriously hope she got in trouble.

Anyway, after all that fuss...I don't even like the liner. It is nothing like the smudge pots. Sure, I know that it's suppose to smudge and be waterproof and have staying power. Sure, it glides on nicely but dammit, why did I look like a crack whore two hours after I put it on. My top lid was fine but when I lined below my eye, it appeared fine but then smudged and ran all over the place.  With the smudge pots, which are gel based, it would glide on smooth and stay in tact all day. I totally believe I wasted my money. Smudge pots are my favorite and I don't think I can ever replace it even if it means that I have to use/bring a brush with me to use it.

| blarkness rating: 2 out of 5 - one point for the nice shimmer shades and one point for the ease of using a stick and the way it glides on smoothly when applied |

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Randoms this week

Before I start to paint my nails, I should do a quick blog post. This week has been a busy week leading up to our annual vacation. Mike and I have had to do some last minute shopping and with work, tomorrow night is our association's biggest night, the End of Term gala. Over 1400 of our members will be attending a dinner with an after party at Vertical Restaurant on King.  Here's some random things I have been up to this week:

Weekend fun. For the first time in a long time, I actually did something on the weekend. Friday after work, I met Mike and Reggie for beers at a pub around the corner from our condo. I'm such a rookie because after a pint of Rickard's White, I was buzzed. We got home and I crashed before 10 pm. After two days of waking up at 5:00 am and working 10 hours days, I was hoping to sleep in but SOMEONE woke me up at 7:30 in the morning. I was pissed so I went to the gym. The afternoon was spent shopping and the evening was spent with Mike and Reggie again at Lucky Strike Lanes for Marah's birthday. It was great to see all my brother's friends. The last time I saw most of them was back in January for Andrew's housewarming party. Again, more beer drinking and then a late night McDonald's run. So bad but so good.  Sunday was dim sum with the Solons. I only ate a little and then Mike and I started packing when we got home. At night, we picked up my mom from the airport, checked out the cool, little bungalow she lives in and then finished off the night watching the MTV Movie Awards (Les Grossman is hilarious!). I did manage to squeeze in an awesome Sunday afternoon nap.

Toms Shoes. I bought my first pair over the weekend. I don't really love them but it was the only size 6 they had in the entire store. I bought them with the intention of thinking about it and seeing if I have anything to wear with them.  What do you think?

I much rather have the wedges that were just released or a more plain looking pair. Do you think I should be adventurous and keep these blue tangier vegan classics? Or return them and wait for these wedges to come into the stores?

Or...just get plain ones? In black or olive? I'm so confused. I won't do anything until I come back from vacay so any thoughts or comments are welcome.



Diet and exercise. I went off my detox on May 29th but I have managed to still watch what I eat. I am definitely still staying off dairy and starchy carbs and try to avoid red meats, fruits and sweets. I cave in once in a while but really limit my intake. I had to give in when Mike and I went to eat at Aquila with Pat & Danny (and their son Lucas, who we finally got to meet). We met P&D in Punta Cana back in 2003. We managed to keep in touch over the years and even share the same wedding anniversary day - June 7th. This little restaurant is so cute and we hope to go back again there for brunch. Let me share some photos with you:

Appetizer - Beef Tenderloin and Scallop with smoked salmon & caviar

Seafood Orzo

Lamb Chops

I forgot to take a photo of the Goat cheese Bruschetta and Pat's Chilean Sea Bass and our Tiramisu (by the time we got dessert, it was already dark). I was totally bad and ate a bunch of things I shouldn't have. I made sure that I worked out extra hard the next couple of days. Along with watching what I eat, I have been running on the treadmill, lifting some weights and doing pilates (sometimes twice a day because I do it at work during lunch and then when I get home). I have noticed I can sort of see my collarbone and I can almost touch my toes. It might not seem like much to you but it's a HUGE accomplishment for me.

I better get back to painting my nails. It's getting late and the damn buggers will still need some time to dry. Hopefully I can write one more post before I leave for vacay.  I can't wait!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I love this ring

Here is my lovely, sparkly Swarovski Black Nirvana Diamond ring that I got for my anniversary present. You know me and my cocktail rings. Isn't it pretty???

Happy Anniversary to us!

beach photo 2

FOUR years and going strong...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friends

Here are little tidbits about my friends and what I like about them:
  • She is no way tech-savvy, she still loves to talk on a land line
  • She quit a well-paying job to start her own business and spend more time with her kids
  • She still buys and collects CDs
  • Even when she is in a relationship, she always makes time for her friends
  • She will send a text message or an email to say hi and see how I am doing
  • Her house is always well decorated according to the current season
  • She makes awesome potato salad
  • She treats her Cabbage Patch Kid like it's her child
  • Even though she was terrified, she made some life-alternating changes so she could be happy again
  • She always looks out for her younger siblings. She is truly the definition of a big sister
  • He trusts me and is comfortable enough with me to show his true feelings
  • He feels no ways in telling me when my outfit is ugly. Even though it hurts my feelings, he says he does this because I am a pretty girl and I shouldn't dress in ugly outfits

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday (actually done on a Friday)


1. My dream vacation would be to go to Bora Bora with my husband and stay in a villa above the ocean with glass floors (even though this may terrify me a bit). If you don't know what I am talking about, think of the movie, Couples Retreat or check out St. Regis Bora Bora.

2. The best trip I've ever taken was to Punta Cana, DR for my wedding in 2006. We had 50 people join us and although it was hard to spend time with everyone, there will never be another opportunity to be on a trip with all our family and friends. Plus, it was the last vacation I had with my brother.

3. The most important items to take on a road trip are gravol, a comfy big pillow and lots of snacks.

4. The next trip I'm looking forward to is Cayo Levantado, Samana, DR. I am actually leaving next Saturday. I look forward to every beach vacation because all I dream about is lying on a beach doing nothing.

5. If I had to pick one CD to listen to for a long road trip it would be The Evolution of Robin Thicke by Robin Thicke. I would love to have a mix tape (CD) of all my favorite songs but I love all of Robin Thicke's song on this album, so I will settle for this. On a recent road trip to New Jersey, we blasted Glee Volume 1 and sang every single song at the top of our lungs.

6. The biggest disaster I've ever encountered while traveling was...I have been lucky to never encounter a disaster (knock on wood).

7. My favorite traveling memory is the San Francisco trip I took with my brother in 2004. I think the last trip we took together was to visit our aunt in Edmonton in 1995. We didn't live together, so on this trip we got to see what it would be like to live under one roof. We also got to know a bit more about each other. One thing that sticks in my mind is the little notes he would leave under the door for me and my cousin telling us to wake up because he was awake and had nothing to do.  I loved shopping with my brother and just going out to eat. I treasure this trip with him because I will never get to travel with him again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Takers 2010

I seriously hope this movie isn't garbage. I mean, T.I., Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Jay Hernandez...it's pure eye candy. Just from the trailer, it looks like a cross between Ocean's Eleven and The Italian Job. I guess we will find out if the movie is any good on August 20, 2010.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Product Review: Cover Girl Smoky Shadow Blast



I was recently given Cover Girl's Smoky Shadow Blast in Bronze Fire by Ms BlushPretty. The idea is that you can do a smoky eye in two steps. Step One: apply the shadow over your eyelid and Step Two: line your eyes, blend and then re-line. Yes, it's that simple!!! I did a quick application in front of Ms BlushPretty and was quite impressed with the outcome. I told her that I was going to bring it on vacation because it's one item with dual purpose (shadow and line).

The next day I applied it and while it looked great when I left the house, it didn't look the same when I got to work. With the hot weather, my smoky eye smudged and drizzle down and around my eye. Not ideal for a beach vacation, I thought. Maybe if I apply some setting powder, it may stay on longer but it's definitely not coming with me on my vacation.

| blarkness rating: 3.5 out of 5 - I give it points for the simplicity of creating a smoky eye with one product but I took away points because it's very creamy and not enough staying power |

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My two new favorite healthy loves

Now that I am off my detox diet, I have been looking for healthy snacks to stay on track. I felt really good the last few weeks with no severe stomach aches or pains. I plan to still lay off the fruits, carbs, red meat and dairy. Who knows what will happen when I am on vacation but for now, I will try to continue to eat healthy.


My two favorites at the moment


I found Vita Coco at Bulk Barn. So far, I have only tried the one with pineapple but am looking forward to trying the other flavors. Here's what coconut water does for you:
  • Helps keep the body cool and at the proper temperature.
  • Helps carry nutrients and oxygen to cells and boosts poor circulation.
  • Regulates the function of the intestine, helping promote smoother skin.
  • Helps replenish your body's fluids after exercising.
  • Helps detoxify your body and boost your immune system.
  • Helps ease stomach pains.


Yum, Lärabars. A little something that I keep in my purse for when I get hungry. It's much better than grabbing a chocolate bar. They are a blend of nuts, spices and fruit; each bar contains no more than eight ingredients (Yes, I know they contain fruit and I am trying to not eat fruit but I can't help it with these bars). The bonus is that they are gluten-free. My goal is to try out all the flavors and see what I like best.
  1. Cinnamon Roll
  2. Cashew Cookie
  3. Peanut Butter & Jelly
  4. Tropical Fruit Tart
  5. Peanut Butter Cookie
  6. Cherry Pie
  7. Chocolate Coconut (Cocoa Coconut Chew)
  8. Cocoa Mole
  9. Key Lime Pie
  10. Lemon Bar
  11. Banana Bread
  12. Pecan Pie
  13. Coconut Cream Pie
  14. Ginger Snap
  15. Pistachio
  16. Apple Pie
I'll do another post to let you know what my favorite flavors are. For now, I really like Cocoa Coconut Chew and Key Lime Pie.


Have you tried Vita Coco or Lärabars? 
Do you have a favorite?