MIA

Hello dear Readers ~ it’s been a long time!

This is going to be a very quick Wednesday note to let you all know what I’ve been up to recently and to apologize profusely for not writing a post in such a long time.

I’ve been very busy recently, which isn’t really an excuse for not writing any posts.  However, I’m hoping that once you all know the reasons for my absence, and the fun posts I have lined up for the near future, you’ll consider forgiving me.

My weekends have been hectic, to say the least, and for very good reason.  My wedding day is just over a year away (YAY!), and so SS and I recently decided to get some modelling practice and shoot our engagement photos with our wonderful photographer.  I cannot wait for you to see them, and I’m hoping to post as many photos as I can on the blog and tell you all about the incredible artist (there really is no other word for her!) we’ve chosen to work with.  I should have something to show you very soon, and all I want to say to entice your interest at the moment is that there was definitely a very distinct Christmas theme and feel to the whole photoshoot.  Things will definitely be getting festive on the blog!

To that point, I have two glorious weeks of holiday vacation coming up, and I am super excited to write a whole bunch of posts in that time.  A few of these I’ve already got planned, so look forward to another yearly post about the awesome Christmas decorations I’ve encountered around the city, as well as one about my dream home.

Amidst all these lifestyle posts will also be more book reviews, I promise!  I’m deep in my current read, Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan (Goodreads says I’m about 74% of the way through it), and I think I’ll be finishing it in the next few days.  I’m actually really enjoying it so far, and although it’s not as festive as I had hoped, it’s turned out to be less fun and silly than I expected and much more intricate and meaningful.  A full review is on the way soon!

So, I think that’s just about all for now.  I wanted to update you all and convey that I have not forgotten about this blog that I have grown so fond of and attached to!  I have big and exciting plans for it over the holidays and into the New Year, so stay tuned!

Janille N G

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Pipe Dreams

“And so it came about that Eliza’s luck held, and the expected opposition to the flower shop melted away. The shop is in the arcade of a railway station not very far from the Victoria and Albert Museum; and if you live in that neighborhood you may go there any day and buy a buttonhole from Eliza.”

Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw

My Dream Home (Victoria College)

If only I had Eliza Doolittle’s luck.

I don’t think there’s a person on this planet who hasn’t considered what they would do if they won the lottery. Sure, people probably consider different amounts and try to determine how much they would require to quit their jobs and be comfortable for the rest of their lives, and these values certainly vary from person to person. Then they decide what they would do with this money…Would they travel the world, see the greatest sites in every continent? Would they buy a home by the ocean, in a forest, in a famous city? Would they donate a large sum of it to charities, hospitals, people in need? Or would they live just as they do now, all the while knowing that they will never have to worry about providing for their loved ones?

I know exactly what I would do with my lottery winnings, and I have known for many years. At one point, I thought that, if I had all the money in the world, I would immediately apply for and pursue my PhD. I would be on a plane to Oxford tomorrow, copies of Jane Eyre and North and South packed in my suitcase, wearing a cozy cardigan. After meeting SS, my goals changed slightly, and I realized that I didn’t really want to do my PhD, not because I didn’t have the money readily available for it but because I didn’t have the time to devote to it. I believed, and still do, that my time could be better spent nurturing an incredible relationship and building a humble but secure family life. When I thought about winning the lottery with SS, I knew that the first thing I would want to do was get married immediately; obviously, we’re in the midst of planning our wedding, so we can afford this exciting party anyway, but I knew that if we won the lottery, we could travel to Paris and get married beside the Eiffel Tower, or we could have our reception in a secluded and gothic English castle. And we could take our honeymoon in Japan, like SS has always dreamed of. We could have a wedding with the character we’re trying to recreate here in Toronto with a bit more ease and immediacy. And we could start our married life, the life I now know I want more than any other, that much sooner.

Now that we are in the process of planning our wedding, though, I know that if I won the lottery tomorrow, I wouldn’t change a thing about the wedding we’re having. I firmly believe that it is going to be perfect, exactly what both SS and I have always envisioned, so I wouldn’t spend any more or less money on it. It is going to be exquisite just as we have it planned.

So, my priorities for my lottery money have changed again…

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll already know what I would do if I won the lottery tomorrow. I would set myself, and SS, up in a home right across the street from Victoria College at the University of Toronto. It would be the exact home featured in the photo above, a home just like the one Henry Higgins lives in in My Fair Lady (check out the scene I linked on my Twitter page yesterday to get a sense of the type of home I’m talking about). I have a bit of a love affair with doors, and this home would have a solid black one, with three small steps leading up to it and a black gate in front. Flowers and small shrubs would surround the porch, and the entrance would lead right onto the sidewalk, right into the heart of downtown and close to the beautiful campus I spent so much time at and grew to love so dearly. We would entertain our dearest friends here, having dinner parties at Christmas, the outside of our lovely home covered in wreaths and poinsettias and sparkling lights. I would invite my best friend CV over for tea and we would curl up in luscious armchairs by the window with our favourite novels. I would walk to work every morning, all the while knowing that my dream home was waiting for me upon my return. And I would continue to work, not in an office, not on a tight schedule, but somewhere pleasant and warm and inviting, just for the fun of it. I would find the nearest flower shop, one similar to the gorgeous shop in my hometown of Whitby (which is actually hiring a part-time sales associate at the moment…tempting!), and work there basically for free since I don’t need the money anyway. I would just want to wear pretty dresses every day, and fresh blooms in my hair. I would want to brighten people’s days by offering them a free flower every now and then (paid for with my newfound fortune, naturally), and strike up conversations with my favourite customers. I would live a relaxed, stress free life, but one that would also leave my children amply provided for.

Oh, what a dream! Not dissimilar to Eliza Doolittle’s in Pygmalion: a simple life, replete with the comforts of a loving home and work that is truly enjoyable and fulfilling. It’s the best life I can possibly think of, not too extravagant, just right for me.

Probably I should start buying lottery tickets if I actually want to have a shot at this life! 😉

What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow? Let me know below; I’d love to hear!

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

Where I Read — Home Away From Home

Reading in SS's Backyard

Hello hello and happy weekend!

Can I just say that there is nothing better in the summer than weekends! Who wants to wear dress pants in 40 degrees Celsius? Not this girl!

Anyway, I digress. This week, I’ve decided to skip the #JNGReads/#JNGListens post and instead do another entry about a location Where I Read. I could’ve done a #JNGWatches post, because if you all follow me on Twitter, you’ll see that I’ve been posting gifs and photos and videos of two particular movies all week. I watched both Pride and Prejudice (the version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFayden) and Becoming Jane last weekend, and I’m a little obsessed with both movies. I also realized that my fiancé has never seen Becoming Jane, so I’ll likely have to rectify that situation this weekend and watch the movie again. What a sacrifice to spend another 2 hours with James McAvoy! *sigh* The things we do for our future husbands! 😉

Oh dear, here I go digressing again! Okay, let’s focus — on to my most recent reading location.

A few weeks ago, SS and I had a mini engagement party with the members of our wedding party (some of whom I introduced on the blog here). The next day, we spent a leisurely Sunday in his newly landscaped backyard. SS and his parents did ALL the landscaping themselves, and the garden is truly a sight to behold it is quite breathtaking and the flower beds and built-in stone benches are absolutely beautiful. It’s a perfectly serene and peaceful little retreat, with a covered deck that stays cool and shaded, and a lovely collection of vibrant and vivid summer colours.

On that particular Sunday, the sun was quite scorching, but SS and I were totally protected under the deck, and I was able to spend hours reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in complete calm. Although SS and I are looking to buy a condo and most likely won’t have a garden of our own any time in the foreseeable future, it is nice to know that we will always have a warm and inviting atmosphere to hang out in at his parents’ place. And it is truly remarkable to me that I feel so comfortable there…that I can casually sit in his backyard and feel like I am right at home.

SS's Backyard #1 SS's Backyard #2 SS's Backyard #4

 

 

 

 

I’ll be spending a few days this week at SS’s house while his parents are away on a vacation, so chances are I’ll be spending a lot more time reading in this pleasant setting!

Enjoy your weekend and the blazing sun!

SS's Backyard #3

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

For the Rest of Us

~ Talk about taking a love of fiction to a whole new level! ~

As you can probably all tell from some of my recent blog posts, I am a serious Christmas Enthusiast!  What you’ve probably also been able to surmise is that a lot of my loved ones are equally excited about the holiday season: my Maman decorates a gorgeous poinsettia Christmas tree every year and my boyfriend, who only just recently started seriously celebrating Christmas, was eager and anxious to get all his Christmas shopping done at the Toronto Eaton Centre last weekend.  My brother and father also love getting in on the holiday fun, and they usually give me some of the best, most personal gifts I’ve ever received.

But, what most of you won’t be able to tell is that my family is not at all religious – when we celebrate and become enthusiastic about Christmas, it’s in a secular sort of way, and it’s more about giving, spreading love and being kind to everyone in our lives! ❤ I have many friends who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, as well as those who don’t believe in anything in particular, and I use the Christmas/holiday season as a time to pay homage to ALL of my friendships and special relationships, regardless of belief or denomination.  I just think that allows everyone to get in on the spirit and be included equally!

My father was sort of the person in my immediate family who spearheaded this whole inclusive attitude when he decided to do away with religious fixations and focus instead on being good to others and embracing all differences.  My father is one of the best people I have ever known: he is unfailingly generous, extremely intelligent, passionate and outspoken, and absolutely loyal to his family and friends.  And I actually think that the fact that he isn’t religious enhances his great qualities and makes him a better person; I’ve never known him to be more accepting or kinder in my entire life, and I think it’s all down to the fact that he’s decided to be more open-minded and liberal.

So, when my dad announced a few years ago that he wanted to commemorate his decision to accept all religions, while simultaneously conforming to none in particular, my Maman, brother and I were all for it!  BBG and I were probably thinking mostly of all the presents an extra occasion would bring, but I also thought it was a fun idea and I knew that I would be proud to tell my friends and other family members that the four of us were starting our own new, all-inclusive celebration.  When SS became a part of our family, he readily embraced this new tradition (along with our secular but fabulous Christmas!), and we haven’t looked back since.

What is this unique holiday that we celebrate to set our family apart? you may ask.  Well, my dad had the brilliant idea to choose a fictitious holiday and make it real in our household… And that is why, every December 23rd, my family and I celebrate… Festivus!  That’s right, if you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about – Festivus is that made up holiday that George Constanza’s father is so passionate (and quite aggressive) about, complete with a Festivus pole (no fancy stuff for this holiday), an airing of grievances, and feats of strength.  I grew up with Seinfeld since it’s one of my parents’ favourite TV shows, so I was familiar with the Festivus episode and with the idea of a holiday “for the rest of us”.  When my dad came into the family room with our very own, homemade Festivus pole, well, that just sealed the deal for all of us!  It was just the unique and creative celebration we were looking for!

Festivus Pole

Tonight, my parents, BBG, SS and I, along with one of my brother’s good friends who’s decided to get in on the fun this year, will be celebrating our third annual Festivus!  And I am beyond excited!  The pole (as pictured above) is all decked out with gifts, we have plans to order some tacky fast food, and my dad is already cooking up plans for the feats of strength!  It’s actually the perfect, most laidback and fun way to kick off the holiday season!

So, I’ll leave you all with a HAPPY FESTIVUS!  May your night be full of laughter!

Dad with Festivus Pole

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

The Holidays – #JNGListens

Happy Holidays Dear Readers!

I know there are technically 5 more days until Christmas, but let’s be real, the holidays are already in full swing…especially because so many different religious holidays have already happened and secular Christmas is booming!

I’m personally beyond excited for work to be done, family to be over and delicious food to be on the table! I also love presents…giving them, and okay, also receiving them, and I am so excited for the multiple exchanges that will take place in the next few days! I have tons of holiday plans, from family dinners to date nights with my boyfriend to a trip to Niagara Falls to celebrate New Year’s Eve! It’s going to be a crazy, whirlwind of a season, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Because of the Christmas chaos (which I love beyond words), I’m probably not going to be posting many #JNGListens or #JNGReads quotes on Twitter for the next two weeks…but I figure everyone deserves a vacation, and you all will forgive me. I’m hoping to write a few blog posts in the coming weeks, but I’m not sure how regular and routine they will be, so this is my apology-in-advance post. I will have tons of updates once the holidays are over though!

And, despite how busy everything will be, I am planning to post many more pictures of Christmas trees for the #JNGChristmasTreeSeries on my Instagram, as well as many photos of my holiday activities! I’ll leave you with two of these photos now, as well as a festive quote for your enjoyment!

“It’s the holiday season…”

Downtown Christmas Eaton Centre Christmas

Happy Holidays to you all! ❤

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

The #JNGChristmasTreeSeries

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas / everywhere you go…”

Isn’t it?

Good morning Dear Readers and welcome to the most wonderful time of the year here on The World of my Green Heart!

Christmas has arrived…and I don’t care if it’s technically still November, it’s time to start ringing the sleigh bells, putting up the lights and decorations, and singing those carols at the tops of our lungs!

I am a HUGE fan of Christmas – not for any particular religious reasons or anything, but mainly because I believe it is the most warm (maybe not literally, but certainly metaphorically) and loving time of year! As a believer in Fate and True Love above any other forces on this planet, I feel very strongly that Christmas is the official time of year to share Love, spread Love, find Love and honour Love. Whether you’re spending time with family members who you haven’t seen in ages, celebrating a first holiday with your significant other, or perhaps discovering new possibilities underneath a branch of mistletoe, the Christmas (or winter Holiday Season in general) is such a magical time of year that it’s almost impossible not to see a bit of Fate around every corner.

I pretty much start preparing for Christmas as soon as my birthday is over, around mid-November. Some people probably think that’s a little early, but since I’m Canadian and Thanksgiving is long gone, I don’t have anything else to look forward to between my birthday and Christmas. My perspective is, why not enjoy Christmas thoroughly before it arrives, because once it’s over, that tree isn’t going to look quite so beautiful because you’ll just be sad and depressed that you have to wait a whole year to do it all again. My parents actually take down our beloved Christmas tree on Boxing Day (because they’re a bunch of Scrooges – just kidding!), so if I don’t fully appreciate it while it’s here, I will quite literally wake up one morning and find it dismantled.

My mom's poinsettia Christmas tree.

My mom’s poinsettia Christmas tree.

Now, in order to get myself completely in the Christmas spirit, I’ve already started listening to my favourite carols, and they have riddled my Twitter page this past week. If you follow me over there, and on Instagram as well, you may also notice that I’ve posted several photos of Christmas trees in the last few weeks, and they are all part of what I’ve decided to call the JNG Christmas Tree Series. Basically how it works is that whenever I come across a Christmas tree that is truly breathtaking, I snap a picture of it and post it on my Instagram and Twitter, with a brief description of how excited I am that the best time of the year has finally come around again! Now, I know Christmas isn’t for everyone, but like I mentioned before, I think it’s such a special season, for secular reasons more than anything else, and I think everyone can enjoy the spirit of giving and that little extra bit of kindness that floats around people during this time. And seeing a picture of a gorgeously decorated Christmas tree, I hope, is a reminder that you can run into some really beautiful and festive sights around every corner! The Christmas season is just full of surprises, from gifts to reunions with loved ones to fairytale encounters to romantic proposals, and I am just so passionate about celebrating all that this season has to offer to every person!

So, for this #JNGListens post, I’ll leave you all with a Christmas wish I have for each one of you:

“May your days be merry and bright!” – White Christmas

And here are some of the photo highlights from my #JNGChristmasTreeSeries! Check it out on Instagram and Twitter if you want some more Christmas cheer!

Christmas Tree #1 Christmas Tree #2 Christmas Tree #3 Christmas Tree #4

Merrily yours,

JNG

Girl with a Green (and Red) Heart

my green heart