5 easy eco-friendly changes everyone can make

20140422-175949.jpg
Earth Day 2014

You are a standup citizen, I mean you hold doors open for others, give your seat on the bus/metro to the elderly, you vote, file your taxes, have good work ethic, care about your community and your planet.. But, it’s Earth Day and you’re thinking “Hmm…I have no power over the mega corporations, I can’t single handedly slow global warming, stop the deforestation of rainforests or reduce our dependency on oil… what can I do? What’s the point of trying?”.

 WRONG.

20140422-180343.jpg
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana ( Ramessar, 2004)

 

Okay, maybe you have neither the time nor the interest in becoming an activist, moving to the Amazon, protesting outside of Parliament, chaining yourself to trees, or going vegan. But look around! This is our beautiful planet and we have a responsibility to do what we can. Thankfully, there are things we can do; easy and simple changes we can make in our every day life that make a difference.

1. Recycle. Seriously, if you live in a place where the city collects garbage and recycling separately, you have no excuse. If you’re not doing it you’re just lazy. For those of you who can do composting (either at home or through the city), even better!

2. Buy environmentally-friendly products. We always look for the Eco-Logo at Walmart when shopping for our cleaning supplies, they are biodegradable and affordable, and probably better for our general health anyway. For you Montrealers, last week I picked up a GreatValue Bathroom Cleaner 765ml for 2$, and a GreatValue Toilet Bowl Cleaner 710ml for $2. For laundry detergent, we couldn’t find one with the Eco-Logo so we bought La Parisienne 3,04L (76 loads) which is biodegradable for $8,97. We also try to buy sulfate-free and natural soaps/shampoo…less chemicals going down the drain and it’s better for your skin and hair!

3. Conserve water. If you do not already own a low-flush toilet and don’t foresee doing renovations soon, you can improvise: Place an empty plastic bottle (e.g. a soft drink bottle) in your toilet’s tank which will prevent it from filling completely with water – creating your very own low-flush toilet! Install low-flow showerheads; They’re cheap, easy to install, and you’ll still get pretty good water pressure. Also, turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth. For those who aren’t sure why all this is important: we treat our water with a lot of chemicals, so the less water we use the less water we need to treat with chemicals which means less chemicals end up in the St-Lawrence.

4. Conserve energy. Change your lightbulbs to CFLs: They last longer, use less electricity, and are now widespread in various intensities (please dispose of your incandescent lightbulbs through the hazardous waste collection on your borough). Wash in cold water as much as possible when clothes aren’t too soiled. Use weatherstripping or plastic on the inside of your windows in winter to improve insulation (also lowers your heating costs, trust me!) In the summer, keep the blinds closed during the day to prevent your place from heating up too much and use blackout curtains (we sewed them behind our other curtains) to lower your A/C costs.

5. Carpool. When public transportation and cycling/walking isn’t an option, drive with someone else as much as possible. Plus, isn’t it more enjoyable when you’re with a friend?

You don’t need to have solar panels or an electric car to help the environment, these are just a few examples of manageable changes that can be made in every household. Each of us can make a small difference, together we can make a huge one.

20140422-174744.jpg

 

This Earth Day I hope that some of these tips find their way into your home. If you have any other tips or alternatives please share 🙂

 

Rwanda: a lesson in reconciliation? (Trailer for film Unforgiven)

Several months ago I stumbled across this trailer.
I wanted to share it in honour of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide.
(FYI the hauntingly beautiful song is Slip Away by Josh Garrels)

Unforgiven: Rwanda from Augustin Pictures on Vimeo.

I am really looking forward to seeing this film. I have been unable to find much info on it, other than that it may be released sometime in 2014, but it looks incredible.

I was 6 years old when Tutsis and moderate Hutus began being slaughtered in their homes and in the streets of Rwanda. I was too young to know what was going on, and when I learned about it, later watching Hotel Rwanda and reading Shake Hands with the Devil by Roméo Dallaire, I recall being sickened and having nightmares. Indeed, in my International Social Work course we watched a documentary on the high prevalence of vicarious trauma in the military personnel and humanitarian workers who were in Rwanda and other conflict zones. In that same university course we discussed the importance and role of international criminal tribunals. The most well known one is, of course, the Nuremberg Trials following WW2. However, here are some interesting and notable facts about the The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda:

  • The ICTR is still ongoing, is expected to conclude sometime in 2014
  • The tribunal was the first to conclude that rape and sexual assault constituted acts of genocide in that they were committed in order to target a specific group.
  • The ICTR was the first to convict a head of government, the prime minister of Rwanda during the genocide

 

What really caught my attention though was the Justice and Reconciliation process implemented at the community level in Rwanda. A huge part of the difficulty for the survivors of the genocide is that they were and continued to be living as neighbours next to the very people who had attacked them. In recognition of that, several things were put into place:

  • Because so many Rwandans were still awaiting national trials, the government re-established a traditional village court system called the Gacaca. Originally, the Gacaca was used to settle family and village disputes. It was reinstated to allow victims the opportunity to hear what had happened to their loved ones, and for perpetrators to confess and ask for forgiveness.
  • Reconciliation villages were built where victims and perpetrators live as neighbours once again.
  • Country-wide education was implemented to prevent genocide ideology (placing emphasis on patriotism, not on ethnicity)

 

Of course, as one can imagine, there can be no easy road back from that kind of darkness, and it is hard to evaluate the success of the reconciliation efforts.  Yet, there are glimpses of light – of forgiveness and healing.

Unfortunately, there have been atrocities prior to and since the Rwandan Genocide, and I continue to be horrified and appalled by the ways in which people manage to harm one another. I sometimes lose hope, thinking we seem to have not learned from our mistakes, but then again it is impossible to judge and calculate the atrocities and events that may have been prevented. What is known is that there are clear warning signs of genocide and conflict – the international community must pay attention and intervene when required. At a national and local level, we must demand fair and just action from our leaders. Most importantly, at a personal level, we must practice and teach tolerance and love for each other in our daily lives. I have hope, that if we each take good care of our own small corner of the world, it may be liveable after all.

Best Books of the 21st Century: An infographic

I saw this flowchart originally posted on Upworthy in an article discussing how, typically, only “old” and generally-agreed-upon-classics are considered as mandatory readings in school. It’s true, but I was lucky enough to have had great English teachers that exposed me to a myriad of literary genres (we didn’t only read Shakespeare, not that there’s anything wrong with Shakespeare…it’s just that most high school courses seem to butcher it). I’m always surprised when people are surprised by my love of all kinds of books, fiction, historical, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction alike.

Anyhoo, I found this chart great for suggestions for future reads! I have read some of the books on here, and I’m really happy to see books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and BLink make this list. I do kinda wish they had put more than just one suggestion for historical literary fiction, but it’s just one flowchart… I’m sure some people will disagree with some of the selections, but with books, there’s something for everyone! Enjoy.

Best Books

Brought to you by USC Rossier’s masters of art in teaching

 

‘Wine not Read’ book review: A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout

20140320-194654.jpg

Our ‘Wine not Read’ rating: 5 / 5

Well, after the somewhat disappointing start to our book club (yeah, we really didn’t enjoy our first book), we were nervous and cautious in selecting our second. But fear not! After several hours of browsing bestseller lists (and several glasses of wine later), we came across the memoir A House in the Sky by Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout coauthored by Sara Corbett.

MIND. BLOWN.

The memoir tells the dramatic story of Amanda, born in Red Deer, Alberta,  who spent a large part of her childhood dreaming about visiting the exotic locations found in National Geographic magazines. After saving her tips from her waitressing job, Amanda began traveling the world, backpacking though Latin America, Laos, and India, eventually traveling to Sudan, Syria, and Pakistan. Having caught the ‘travel bug’, in an effort to continue funding her travel habit, Amanda attempted a career as a television reporter, traveling to the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Then, in 2008, accompanied by her former travel companion and photojournalist Nigel Brennan, Amanda traveled to Somalia. On day four, they were abducted. Held hostage by a group of captors for 460 days,  Amanda converted to Islam as a survival tactic, was moved between a series of houses, and attempted a risky escape. During the darkest moments, Amanda would escape to a house high up in the sky where she was free from the torture, pain, and despair.

Why we liked loved this book:
First of all, all four of us love to travel… so the beginning parts of the book that described her earlier adventures were really enjoyable and interesting for us to read. As for the rest of the book, well it was impossible to put down, we were always wanting to know “what happens next?”.  Also, we found that Amanda was very relatable: She did not portray herself as some perfect individual…she talked about herself very openly, demonstrating her humaneness, owning up to her naivety, talking about how she disregarded advice and warnings, and sharing how she so badly wanted to succeed as a reporter. Additionally, the memoir included a lot of detail and imagery of the various houses where Amanda was kept and of her captors. These details helped paint a very vivid and clear image of her harrowing ordeal, it was impossible to not be affected emotionally.  In fact, at times, we found ourselves not believing that she would survive (which is silly, since she wrote the memoir so obviously she survived), but that is how terrible it seemed. There were some parts of the book that were extremely difficult to read, but that is only to be expected from a retelling of such a horrific ordeal. 

Oh, on a side note…we were really impressed by how nicely Amanda spoke of Nigel in the book. Most of us did not care for him too much based on how he appeared to have acted throughout the ordeal. To be fair, we don’t know him, we were not there, and we don’t know how any of us would act in a situation like that…but still.

Why we did not like this book:
No reason. Honestly, we all loved it. We think this book may have ruined all other books for us for a while.

To sum up…
This is a book that we would recommend to anyone and everyone. But, just a head’s up, trigger warning due to descriptions of physical and sexual violence. While readers may have their own personal opinions about what led Amanda to Somalia in the first place, the book itself is an incredible read. We were all impressed by Amanda’s honesty and sincerity in the storytelling. But most of all, we were inspired by the courage she demonstrates, not only by having survived her ordeal, but by writing and sharing it with the world, by returning to Somalia in recent years to do humanitarian work, and by discussing her struggles with PTSD so openly. Her story is one that will leave you changed.

Growth from adversity

I love quotes. I mean, I really love quotes. I’ve been collecting them in some fashion for as long as I can remember – either jotted down in notebooks or compiled in Word documents (yes this was before Pinterest)… they continue not only to be a source of inspiration, but oftentimes the beginning of a reflection or self-discovery. The beauty I find in quotes is that regardless of whether or not I agree with the statement, it gets me thinking! Here is today’s quote:

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you” – Rumi

There are many common catch-phrases that embody the usefulness and benefit of physical pain – we see statements and inspirational images with the words “no pain, no gain” plastered on countless Facebook pages and Pinterest boards.

But what about mental pain? Emotional pain? Broken hearts, shattered dreams, disappointment?
Have we reached the point where we see those types of pain and struggle as something useful or beneficial?

I recently watched a TED talk on gratefulness given by the Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast, where he discussed that while no one could be grateful for everything in life (in particular things like war, death, or disease), that every moment is an opportunity, and that that is something to be grateful for. It occurs to me that this is easier said than done. I’m sure that anyone who has been touched by loss, grief, despair, or illness could agree that when in the midst of devastation, the light seems far, far away. But this quote by Rumi has prompted me to reflect on these two questions:

When bad things happen, do I learn something from it?
I’m not sure that I always learn something from life challenges. Honestly, sometimes I’m too busy being angry or disappointed that they happened, or busy being stubborn and not wanting to admit that I could learn something from it. But I’m not always terrible! I have learned some extremely valuable, hard, and even silly lessons from hurtful and difficult moments.

Are difficult life events opportunities for growth?
I don’t think that tragedy or hardship automatically equals growth. But I do think that in those struggles lie opportunities for change and growth. We are not always aware of the opportunities when we’re in the middle of a messy or tough spot, we’re too busy trying to keep afloat. But I wonder if we were to look back our life and trace it as a path, if those tough spots wouldn’t stand out as being shifts or forks in the road. It seems that when we are faced with difficult life events we are often being faced with a choice, and our actions can steer our attitudes and even our lives in a certain direction.

We are constantly changing and developing as individuals. Every event shapes who we are and who we will be in the future. This both excites and terrifies me. I guess all any of us can do is try to keep our eyes and hearts open to the many lessons that lie in waiting all around us, and to not be scared of how those lessons may change us.

Our favourite reads (so far)

Alright, well first of all, this is much-delayed post. At our “Wine Not Read” book club’s first ever meeting, each of us ladies shared some of our most loved and enjoyed reads. Now, admittedly, we probably left some titles out… I mean it’s almost impossible to name all your favourite books in one sitting! In any case, here is our compiled list in no particular order:

  • The Alchemist (Paul Coelho)
  • Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes)
  • Little Princes (Conir Grennan)
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  • Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon)
  • The Bell Jar (Sylvia Path)
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers (Katherine Boo)
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer)
  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames (David Sedaris)
  • The Picture of Dorian Grey (Oscar Wilde)
  • The Road (Cormac McCarthy)
  • Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
  • Room (Emma Donoghue)
  • The Help (Kathryn Stockett)
  • Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris)
  • Animal Farm (George Orwell)
  • 100 Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  • Siddartha (Hermann Hesse)
  • The Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin)

Happy Reading 🙂

The harsh reality of shared work

When I graduated from university, I could not wait to work on a team. I felt too new and inexperienced in my clinical abilities to work solo. I still consider myself fortunate to work on a team with (mostly) like-minded and committed individuals; I have learned much from my coworkers. However, over the last three and a half years I have, at times, found working closely (daily) in a team challenging and frustrating. As anyone who works in teams knows, it’s not always easy, and it sure ain’t always pretty.

I recently came across a post from Gretchen Rubin’s blog The Happiness Project (by the way, if you have not yet read her same-named book you really must!) where she outlines and explains seven painful facts about shared work. In reading, it occurred to me that I have been thinking of teamwork in an idealistic and perhaps unrealistic way. To read her full blog post, click here. But fear not! Her list resonated so deeply with me, I have listed the seven facts below:

Fact 1: Work done by other people sounds easy
This perception often leads us to under-estimate how difficult a task may be when done by others, so we don’t bother to offer to help or share the responsibility. 

Fact 2: When you’re doing a job that benefits other people, it’s easy to assume that they feel conscious of the fact that you’re doing this work—that they should feel grateful, and that they should and do feel guilty about not helping you.
The more reliably you perform a certain task, the less likely it is for anyone to notice that you’re doing it, therefore they won’t feel any gratitude or impulse to help. Others begin to view this as your job since you’ve been reliably doing it for some time. In fact, Gretchen states that being taken for granted is an unpleasant but a sincere form of praise… “Ironically, the more reliable you are, and the less you complain, the more likely you are to be taken for granted.”

Fact 3: It’s hard to avoid “unconscious overclaiming.”
We tend to overestimate our own personal contribution compared to the contribution of others. We also are more likely to do work that we value, which may differ from what others (colleagues, spouses…) value. 

Fact 4: Taking turns is easier than sharing.
Sharing is ambiguous; taking turns is clear.
I would add that shared responsibility means no one is responsible. It really takes someone “in charge” of ensuring the job gets done. That person does not need to do it all, can and should delegate tasks to others, but there needs to be someone overseeing the task. 

Fact 5: The person who cares the most will often end up doing a task.
You thinking a task is important doesn’t make it important to others, and people are less likely to participate in work they consider unimportant. 

Fact 6. If you want someone else to do a task, DON’T DO IT YOURSELF. 
Gretchen addresses the issue that while this sounds so obvious, most of us actually don’t do this. Someone else might (and is more likely to) do a task if you don’t do it first (although she does say to refer to Fact #5). Of course, sometimes we cannot afford the luxury of waiting…some tasks must be dealt with immediately. 

Fact #7: If, when people do step up, you criticize their performance, you discourage them from doing that work in the future. If you want others to contribute, don’t criticize from the sidelines. If so, they might feel it is easiest to leave that task to you…

Reading Gretchen’s post was a liberating experience. I believe that not only have I been incorrectly (and naively) thinking about the concept of teamwork (Fact 2 & 4), but I have also been ignoring the impact of my actions on the functioning of the team (Fact 6 & 7). I think maybe I should print out these facts and tape them to my desk so I can re-read them from time to time (or every day…) for a refresher. Hopefully, accepting and applying these truths about shared work will help me appreciate the benefits of teamwork while at the same time clearly seeing it’s limitations and knowing how to approach said limitations. I’m no saint, so I will probably continue to get annoyed and want to scream/pull out my hair/throw things from time to time, but I hope to retain my sanity at work a bit longer 🙂

‘Wine not Read’ book review: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

ImageOur “Wine not Read” Rating: 2.75 / 5

The book is told from the perspective of Marcelo, a young man who suffers from what appears to be High-functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrom, who is forced by his father to leave the protective world of his specialized school and go work at his father’s law firm in order to experience the ‘real world’ for one summer. You guessed it, major stress and awkward social interactions ensue. Assigned to the mailroom (only after receiving numerous instructions from his father on how to appear ‘normal’) Marcelo meets Jasmine, his young & pretty supervisor. He also meets Stephen, Arturo’s law partner, and his son Wendell, a  bully and womanizer who is hoping to hook up with Jasmine. Marcelo must deal with Wendell pressuring him into doing things he doesn’t want to, with working closely with Jasmine who doesn’t seem pleased to have him as her assistant, and with the myriad of confusing and stressful social interactions he faces, all the while trying to please his Arturo.

Why we liked this book:
It is always interesting to see the world through the eyes of someone who has a particular or different perspective on things…it encourages us to examine the world around us differently. Seeing the world, specifically social interactions, through Marcelo’s eyes with his distinct and unique perspective was interesting. Also, The book touched on some  interesting themes such as parent-child relationships, morality, consequences of actions, etc.

Why we did not like this book:
All the narrative, from all characters, was written in the same blunt and rigid style. That style seemed appropriate for Marcelo due to his Asperger-like symptoms, however did not seem right for the other characters. It made the whole story seem too rehearsed. Also, t
he story touched lightly on many interesting themes, all of which had lots of potential, but none of them were ever really explored in depth. For example, we only ever see the periphery of the father-son conflict…even the peak of their conflict seems subdued in it’s place in the book. And finally, the ending was wrapped up really (too) quickly! It’s as if all the different elements of the book converged and then boom! it was all wrapped up one chapter later. Seriously, soooo mad about the ending!

To sum up…
This book is about “naivety meets ethical dilemma”. It’s got a little romance, a bit of adventure and mystery, some drama, and personal growth. The story had some good moments, but unfortunately for us, the disappointing ending really ruined it. We were all looking forward to reading it, especially since 2 members had previously read/loved a similarly-themed book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (I would seriously recommend that book!) Unfortunately for us, this novel just did not live up to our expectations and hopes 😦

Our DIY Wedding!

 Wedding planning is fun. I mean honestly, when else are you not just allowed, but encouraged to spend countless hours obsessing over different colour schemes, crafts, flowers, designs, and other awesome-ness !?! From the very beginning we knew we wanted a DIY and Eco-conscious wedding… as much as possible that is. This turned out to be somewhat of a challenge, and we weren’t able to do everything we wanted to do…but we finally settled on a few specific things to personalize our wedding:

1. Stationary: Invites!
Thankfully, Montreal recently welcomed Michaels to our lovely city. I bought some awesome stationary there, designed the invite on Word with help from my sister, then printed it off at home! We opted NOT to do mail-in RSVPs, instead our friend Eric made us our very own website where, amongst other things, people could RSVP. So, we took the small-sized stationary that was intended for RSVP cards, and designed a second invitation, therefore saving paper! Woohoo! All the stationary that was left over was used for wedding signs at the reception.

IMG_1688
Verdict: Totally worth it. We saved muchos money by printing our own invites (especially by using both sizes of paper)
.

2. Decorations: Flower balls!
I came across a fabulous link on Pinterest for some various DIY Pomanders. With help from my mom and bridesmaid Sarah, I made 4 flower fabric, 2 felt, 1 tissue-paper, and 2 tulle balls. The most time-consuming ones to make were the fabric ones, but they were also (in my opinion) the prettiest. The individual fabric roses took a lot of time to make, but it helped to use the glue-gun to hold it together as I folded the fabric. Unfortunately, the tissue-paper and felt balls were quite fragile, but the others held up quite well. I still haven’t decided where to put the fabric balls but I do plan on hanging them somewhere! Here’s the original link if you’re interested: http://southernbellesoulmountainbrideheart.blogspot.ca/2012/04/pink-and-grey-shabby-chic-mobile-diy.html

302_          IMG_1685
Verdict: Although they looked really pretty, and I am happy I made them, it was very time-consuming and not exactly cheap. The styrofoam balls were kinda expensive, and I didn’t have scraps of fabric laying around so I had to buy some at FabricVille. Would not recommend this craft for anyone in a hurry…

3. Centrepieces: Jars and Wine Bottles!
Inspired by my love of everything chalkboard, I used wine bottles to indicate our table names. I used chalkboard paint from Michaels (yay Montreal finally has this awesome store!) – the bottles were pretty challenging to paint, it took several coats since the surface was so slippery. Once painted, I experimented with actual chalk, but finally settled on chalkboard markers from Omer DeSerres. Warning: those markers are pretty permanent! Although you can wipe off the writing with a damp cloth it still leaves trace. For a final touch, my friend Gen suggested using some of our leftover stationary to make cute matching tags for the bottles.

Also in the spirit of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” (oh boy did I really just write that?), I asked my family, friends and coworkers to give me their jars. I received everything from small jam jars to large peanut containers (thank you, Melissa, for revealing your peanut-addiction to the world). I finally settled on an assortment of 2 different sizes, tied twine around the tops, decorated the plain ones with tea-stained music sheet heart cutouts, and voila! These jars were used for our floral arrangements alongside the wine bottles. I’m really happy with the way the table arrangements looked, they were pretty, light and small enough not to overwhelm the tables.

482_              478_
Verdict: Totally worth it! It’s really easy to collect jars, especially if you’re not too picky about everything matching. We also saved some money on the cost of floral arrangements since we provided our florist with the containers. This was a really cheap & easy way to personalize.

4. Wedding signs: More chalkboards!
So, turned out my sister had some random large pieces of wood (including a cupboard door) laying around, and I had an old whiteboard in my storage room. We used the leftover chalkboard paint and some self-adhesive chalkboard sheets to turn those into awesome chalkboard wedding signs! It was pretty stressful having to write the signs ourselves, but they turned out nicely! We had a sign with the names of the wedding party/family, another sign with the schedule of the day (in Hockey Night in Canada style!), and the menu. We also made another sign for the seating chart, this one using a simple cork board and then more leftover stationary.

299_ 294_ 304_
Verdict: A fun project! I love how the seating arrangement helped incorporate the blue & birds theme, and the chalkboard signs were fun to make. Obviously, was definitely more worthwhile since we had the pieces of wood sitting around.

There are so many great ideas out there for weddings, it’s just a matter of deciding which ones are right for yours. True, at times it became stressful completing all the projects, but mostly (and most importantly) it was fun to do! I certainly do not regret doing these crafts, it was great feeling to have a more personal involvement in our wedding. I  definitely recommend wedding crafts for all!

Credit: All wedding photography by Blueberry Studio, 2013

Operation Book Club

book club

Oh yes, the good ‘ol sleepless night, reading into the wee hours of the morning, procrastinating all other tasks to finish “just one more chapter”… Welcome to the world of a book addict. As long as I can remember, I have loved reading… I can clearly remember my mother catching me reading with a flashlight underneath my bed covers as a young child. I don’t really have a preferred genre, reading everything from non-fiction to fantasy. Sadly, when in university, I stopped reading for my own personal pleasure. There was simply no time to read anything for fun on top of all the mandatory stuff. I’m sure this is a scenario many people can identify with… But over the last year (and much to the chagrin of my husband), I have unearthed my reading-powers and am now devouring books at a kinda-freaky rate.

Thankfully, I was recently at a party where I realized that one of my friends, Vanessa, is equality afflicted by the same disease (however she probably has it worse considering her university major was english lit). Somewhere during our discussion of our mutual appreciation for certain books, it was revealed that we both had a secret desire to belong to a book club. Yet, we had never heard of one in any of our social circles… Hmm. That same night, we decided to start our very own.

And so this brings me to Operation Book Club. Our ambitious project has taken flight! We were able to recruit 2 other gals to join in, and had our very first meeting (complete with popcorn and wine, of course). We have decided to call our book club “Wine not read” (thank you Vanessa for the pun) and have picked our first book: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork. The goal? To share some of our favourite reads, eat & drink together, discuss our thoughts and musings, and hopefully discover some new awesome books.  Also, my plan is to post our group review of each book we read on my blog page Babbling Books to share our discoveries with others!

Read on!