Stories, experiences and recommendations to help you get 'er done.
Well….I’m all in. I’m engaged to be married!
After over 7 years of torturing my girlfriend with wedding jokes and false promises, I’ve finally taken Beyonce’s advice and ‘put a ring on it’. Cue Steve’s ‘all my single ladies’ Beyonce voice!
On Saturday, February 9th, I popped the question to my better half via custom cupcakes made by the Cupcake Shoppe at Yonge and Eglinton. After spending all morning worried about timing, set up and her reaction, all I recall is hearing nothing but, “Oh my god, you’re joking!”…
“Is this happening?” Yes!
“For real? Really?!” Umm… yes.
“You’re joking….” No, I’m not, but now it’s awkward.
Needless to say, she did say ‘yes’ and she didn’t hate the ring! (Gold star for me)
Now that the hard part is over (subjective, I know!) it’s time to start planning all the details of the wedding. And boy are there a lot of details!
All those details add up to dollars. And all those dollars add up to me not being able to buy a BMW this year.
Given my experience in sponsorship and marketing, I’ve become more interested in exploring opportunities to include different sponsors at our wedding in 2014. Admittedly, I haven’t done a lot of planning yet as to how I’m going to go about it, but I do know that I’m going to try and put a value on our wedding, and research some local businesses who may be a great fit for our event/venue.
Considerations for florists, men’s clothiers, caterers, DJs, you name it…. they will all be explored. I know it sounds crazy, but I think it could work.
Either way, I’m all in, and I’m excited.
Any wedding vendor recommendations? Leave me a note!
So we’re exactly one week into the new year. Feel any different?
I know there are a bunch of people who believe that New Years resolutions are bogus, and I can’t say that I totally disagree. Do we really need an annual check-up to see what we should be changing in our lives? Shouldn’t we already be doing this on a regular basis?
Sure, the transition from one year to the next does provide a convenient opportunity for everyone to reevaluate bad habits, but this year, I plan to evaluate – and improve – my bad habits more than once.
Since our 90s themed party on New Years Eve (Thank you Kevin and Jenn!) my focus this year really falls into three core buckets:
1. MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I am very fortunate for the loving parents, supportive family, great relatives and amazing friends I have in my life. I can make all the money in the world, but what’s the point of truckloads of cash if you have no one close to share it with, right?
It’s only fitting that I spent the last day of 2012 with some of my closest friends, and New Years day with my immediate and extended family. One of the primary reasons I opted to do this post today was because of the time I spent with some friends this past Saturday night. Our small games night wasn’t anything elaborate.
We had chips and cheese, and ordered in pizza.
We ate on paper plates. (I know, I know; tree hugger Brad using paper plates. Hypocrite!) Environmental faux pas aside, it truly was a fun night with a crowd I’ve known for over a decade.
My goal(s) for 2013: to be nicer to my friends and family – especially Trish! – and rekindle old relationships
2. MY JOB
I recently started a new role as a specialist with Bell Canada. I did reach my goal of securing full-time employment by the beginning of December 2012, but in 2013, my focus lies in perfecting my craft and working hard to continue accelerating my career.
Given I knew very little about the telco industry and that 90% of my team has been away on holidays, the last two weeks have been a steep learning curve. I’m confident I’m getting a good grasp on the industry/technology/competitors and internal jargon, but as I continue to reach out to colleagues, read industry publications and dive into my new role, I’m excited to see where I’ll be one year from now.
They say in order to be an expert at anything, an average of 10,000 hours are spent learning, practicing and perfecting the topic/skill/sport/etc. So far I’ve accumulated approximately 77 hours in the office, so here’s to logging another 9,033 in 2013!
My goal(s) for 2013: achieve individual (and team) targets; maximize face time with executive team; establish detailed plan for next career move
3. MY HEALTH
I can feel it in my loins. I feel it after playing two hours of pick up basketball and after a night of drinking.
I’m getting old.
According to my last physical (2012), I’m in pretty good working order and my vitamins/cholesterol levels are all good. (A vast improvement from my high cholesterol levels in 3rd year university!)
Though health is #3 on my list, it’s undoubtedly the most important. Without my health, I wouldn’t be able to spend time with bucket #1. Without my health, I wouldn’t be able to develop and grow bucket #2.
I need to get back in shape, and 2013 seems like a good year to start!
My goal(s) this year: join a sports league (dodgeball, basketball, etc.); lose 10lbs; regular vitamin intake
I would guess these three buckets are pretty similar for most people, but what you choose as your goal within each bucket will vary greatly. If you have different buckets – great! Once your priorities are set, I encourage you to set some SMART goals, assess them regularly, and then check back in six months – yes, six months! – to evaluate your progress.
And if you’re not happy with your results; forget you got this idea from me.
Tonight the Toronto Raptors beat the Pistons 97-91 to win their 4th consecutive game for the first time since November 2010.
After starting the season with arguably the toughest schedule in the NBA (15 of their first 22 games on the road), the Raptors have recently slowed their hectic city to city visits and taken advantage of some good ol’ home cooking.
For me, the greatest part about seeing their hard work and perseverance pay off is their continued appetite to win. You can tell the team is hungry to keep this streak up.
I can see it in their hussle for the ball and in their attentiveness to each other. I’m happy for them. for the fans, for the city.
That, and I’m also secretly happy (maybe not so much anymore!) that this is all happening with Bargnani on the sidelines. As a fan, and someone who loves playing the game, I truly appreciate players like Demar, Amir and Alan who go out and give it their all every night.
In the game tonight, Amir hit the deck numerous times, rolled his ankle on an offensive play, left the game to tape it up, and returned (in pain) to make a critical play at the end of the 4th. Amazing.
Now, I realize four games is not a reason to start throwing around that ‘p‘ word just yet, but it sure does feel good to see these guys get some W’s in the win column. On to the next one!
What are your thoughts on the Raptors thus far?
Despite being born and raised in Canada (Scarborough and Markham, respectively), my Japanese heritage is a very important part of my life.
I grew up in a family that didn’t speak Japanese. I grew up with grandparents (‘bachan’ and ‘jichan’) who spoke to me in fluent English. I grew up eating turkey at thanksgiving and new years… with a side of maki rolls. But all that said, I still like to learn about my culture. I have a goal to visit Japan and experience the culture, people, art and food first hand.
Although I had a very traditional Canadian upbringing, there was one part of my Japanese heritage that I came to learn more and more about as I grew older: the Japanese Canadian internment.
During the second world war, on the speculation of sabotage, the Canadian government ordered the confinement of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia. Being ordered out of their homes with only hours notice, and permission to bring only what possessions they could carry, my ancestors (and grandparents) were told they would surely have their possessions and finances returned to them.
Guess what? That never happened.
Instead, possessions includuing luxury cars, homes, clothing and furniture were all sold off at auctions for next to nothing.
Eventually, the Canadian government issued a letter of apology and $21,000 to each surviving internee. An amount that pales in comparison to what they lost – both financially and emotionally – during their time in the camps.
The reason I bring this up at this point in time is because I have been working with the director of a soon-to-be-released Alliance Films documentary called Hatsumi. Hatsumi is a story about one grandmother’s journey through the internment, through the lens and accompaniment of her grandson and director, Chris Hope.
A beautiful and inspirational story about the internment, this film piece not only provides a first-hand look into the life in the internment, but it also provides an educational component to Canadians – Japanese or not – about the inhumanity they faced by their own government.
Admittedly, I still have a lot to learn about this period in history, about Japanese culture, and about carrying on traditional values passed down by the generations, but I guess I technically have a lot more time on my hands to get up to speed.
As some of you may know, I recently (voluntarily!) left my role as a Senior Analyst in TrojanOne’s Consulting Group to pursue a new challenge/path in my career.
Despite the great hands-on learning and leadership opportunities that I experienced at TrojanOne, I have since been focused on pursuing a marketing/sponsorship role - on the client side - within the financial services, technology or CPG industry.
Today marks week 5 of my job hunt.
And yes, the title of this post is a play on words, because it has been a weak 5 weeks!
I read an article today that provided 9 tips for staying positive while looking for a job. It was a good read, not necessarily for the pointers it provided, but as reassurance to know that I’m doing a lot of the right things despite not securing a job after 5 weeks of searching.
Countless hours have been spent searching the job sites, tailoring my resume and cover letter, completing tests and online assessments, and creating a logins/passwords for every career site out there.
My response rate would make even the worst direct marketer hang their head in shame.
One word to describe it? Weak.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m confident I will find the right job with the right organization soon. But if it wasn’t for keeping my daily routine (on my laptop at 7:30 every morning), volunteering, setting goals, keeping up to date on industry trends, and continuing to build and leverage my network, I would be a very depressed job seeker.
But that’s not the case. I’m staying positive and optimistic because there is no room for the weak here.
Tonight is a big night.
Tonight, thousands of people will leave their homes to partake in an annual event that is enjoyed by many more at home.
Some people will dress up, some won’t.
Some will have copius amounts of candy, and others will opt for more healthy fare.
For all those consumed by the tricks and treats at the office, at home and at the grocery store, you may think I’m talking about Halloween. Well, I’m not.
Tonight is the home opener of the 2012-2013 Raptors season!
I’m excited about this season because we have a lot of good players who work hard, know their roles and have been exciting to watch in the pre-season.
Only time will tell, but dare I say the ‘P’ word this early in the season?
I won’t jinx it.
This past Saturday, Trish, her mother, Richel and baby Kara went to the beach to soak up some rays at Rouge Park/Beach! The day reminded me of the times when my parents used to take us to the beach to play in the sand and swim in the cold water. We used to pack a picnic lunch - usually the typical Japanese bento box and drinks – and spend all day enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the best Canada has to offer.
With the weather showing no signs of letting up, make an effort to go visit one of Toronto’s local beaches and enjoy a day in the sand and sun! Not only is it a cost-effective summer outing, but you will love the sand between your toes and the spash of the waves on the shore! Don’t forget to apply that sun block; especially all you white people. =)
Some may know what this means, some may not.
Just over one year ago, the coastal prefectures of Japan were destroyed by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami with waves towering 133 feet above sea level.
Hundreds of thousands were displaced and left homeless.
Nearly 19,000 were killed.
Billions of dollars – some estimates over $200 billion – will be spent rebuilding the infrastructure, communities and spirits of those left behind.
Japan recently released a video saying “Arigato” to everyone who has prayed, donated, volunteered, rebuilt, or in any other way contributed to the redevelopment of Japan.
‘Arigato’ is ‘Thank You’ in Japanese.
Although I may not be directly impacted by the events of March 11, 2011, as a Japanese-Canadian, I can’t help but feel connected to the people and communities that were. I see my grandparents in the senior citizens. I see my cousins in the school children. I can’t help but empathize.
The three hardest hit areas – Iwate, Miyagi and Fukashima – are struggling to rebuild due to significant losses in infrastructure, the displacement of tens of thousands of people, inhabitable land, poor conditions for crops and the ongoing concern of radiation exposure.
Despite taking so much from this country and its people, the tsunami did highlight one aspect of Japan that was perhaps forgotten by the rest of the world. This is a country of great pride.
The courage. The unity. The patience and perseverance of the local communities after such a catastrophic and chaotic event is simply inspirational. Seniors in their 70s and 80s are rallying together to help rebuild communities they may not end up experiencing in its final state. The dedication, support and encouragement of those in Japan and abroad is truly a representation of humanity at its finest.
I have been asked by a few friends as to where they can donate money in order to support aid and relief efforts. By NO means is this blog a ploy for money, but if you want to help fuel the Japan Relief effort, you can visit the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre website, Canadian Red Cross, or any other charitable organization that is directly committed to providing financial or in-kind aid to make a donation.
Whether you choose to donate, or simply continue to pray for those left behind,
Marriage represents two individuals coming together to form an unconditional, lifelong bond. This past week, I - as well as 90+ others – had the privilege of witnessing JC and Yvon tie the knot in sunny Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The destination? Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro.
The 7 day vacation? Truly an unforgettable trip with some old, and new, friends.
More to come on the actual vacation (stay tuned in the Travel Bug section!), but as I try to piece together some of the great times we had, here is an overview of some the groups’ not-so-memorable casualties…
1. Platinum wedding band!
2. 4 lost pairs of sunglasses
3. 1 broken Hugo Boss watch
4. 1 destroyed Michael Kors watch
5. 1 lost digital camera
6. 1 lost Iphone
7. 13.5 ripped white undershirts
8. 2 destroyed dress shirts
9. 1 lost straw fedora
10. 1 lost unread novel
11. 1 lost Ipod
12. 1 lost pair of high heels
One Ipad is still missing, but will hopefully be retrieved before my next post! Congratulations to the bride and groom on a wonderful wedding!
Pics to come…
Last Friday night, a few gentlemen from the TrojanOne team took in a complimentary (Thanks J.Orfus!) Toronto Marlies game at Ricoh Coliseum. After enjoying some Friday-afternoon-club brews and heading down to the game, I proceeded to purchase a tradtitional Smoke’s poutine and a 24 oz beer that cost me the equivalent of a full 2-4. Seriously though, $12 for a beer at the Marlies game?!
At the first intermission, a colleague of mine was selected to participate in the on-ice entertainment. Pretty cool, considering there was a decent turnout at the game!
Then came the second intermission. Orfus – in-game host for the Toronto Maple Leafs – managed to get myself and another coworker of mine into the on-ice competition! Admittedly, we were both feeling pretty good about ourselves by this point of the night, so we were more than certain we would be crowned 2nd intermission champions.
The competition: Me pushing Brian in a RONA bathtub while he picked up various puzzle pieces scattered down the ice. We were competing with another team (who we heckled and taunted prior to setting foot on the ice, of course) for a RONA gift card.
Although the picture isn’t clear enough to determine the outcome, let’s just say that Brian and I may be purchasing a new fern or two for the office…
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