Monday, 31 January 2011

'Cause I am a Material Girl (Sort of)

It only makes sense, after a week of us whining about money, that we write about the things we spend it on - specifically things that make us happy, but don't really need. This week's topic:

How We Spoil Ourselves

The good life.

I'm going to list off several things I do that fall into this category:

1) Manicures/Pedicures - I used to do my own nails, but then my friend showed me the good life. Having a friend who offers professional spa services out of her house is pretty awesome. I can get used to this!

2) Drinks out - I don't go out nearly as much as I used to - so when I do I really take advantage of that. Now that I'm a bit older I really appreciate going for a few beers at the pub, or having a classy night drinking $8 glasses of wine. I'm no longer into mainlining gin - though a few G&Ts still do the trick.

3) Dinners out - Dinners out always make me happy, but usually end up costing me a lot. So worth it though. You don't have to cook and you get to have something you might not be able to replicate at home.

4) Going to the movies - Oddly enough I went to the movies three times in January. This isn't normal for me, as I usually only go a few times a year. I saw True Grit, The Fighter and No Strings Attached. I'd really love to see The King's Speech.

5) Buying clothes/shoes/accessories - This is probably how I spoil myself the most. I know we need clothes and shoes to live, but I definitely own more than I need. I try not to be THAT GIRL, but I do like clothes and fashion.

6) Sleeping in - Sleep doesn't cost money, but I certainly do spoil myself by sleeping in a few days a week. Yeah, I'm more productive when I get up earlier, but some days I just need the rest.

I hope you all enjoyed this week's post! How do you spoil yourself?

This is from me to you, Tom...see ya Wednesday!

Photo of my last pedi. Sorry if feet freak you out.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Lauren Vs. The Dollar Bill

I feel like this topic could not have been picked at a more appropriate time. 

Every time I walk into the kitchen at the commune, someone is freaking out about how they have no job/no money/no means of paying rent.  Some of us are worse off than others, but money is definitely a concern for all of us starving artists.  The reality that money doesn't grow on trees becomes a little scarier every time somebody talks about it. 

I'm doing better than the guy that got his bicycle stolen in the rain and has $40 to his name, but I can't live off of savings forever and it's beginning to make me a bit paranoid.  I keep myself busy with my writing and music all the time, but since I'm not making any money off of it I probably look like a lazy, idealistic, hipster freak to the untrained eye.  I need to start making money off of my creative pursuits (which would involve learning how to market myself) or get a real job.

Unfortunately, I can't just go out and get a real job.  Trust me, I have tried.  The economy is horrible. 

This is all really depressing.  I apologize.  I agree with Tom and Allison that a world without money would be a really nice place.  Money is one of those things that I try to avoid thinking about.  Maybe that's why it took me so long to write this post.  I kept putting it off all week.  I set aside time to write it yesterday but I ended up having car problems and spent too much of my evening dealing with a tow truck driver.  I then went to go dancing with some friends (because no matter how broke I am, I can always afford the cover charge at 80's night) but the boy that was going to come with me totally ditched.

My friend Old Hippy Poet summed it up nicely this morning:  "No wonder you're kind of down today.  The rent is due, your car broke down, and the cute boy didn't want to go dancing with you.  Sometimes, everything just happens at once."  He then spent an hour under the hood of my car and fixed it, which was exciting.  But I digress.

Fortunately, my rent is cheaper than usual this month because of all the days I went without hot water.  And hopefully I can pull the "look, I have no job" card and get my student loans delayed some more. 

I only wish that money could solve silly boy problems, but the world doesn't work like that. 

Anyway, that's all I've got.  I feel like this post is less interesting and more dismal than usual.  I apologize.  I think I will go back to bed at this time. 

Love you guys!

- Lauren a.k.a:  The Yank

My bandmate and I on the one night we got paid for our music

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Skint, Brassic and Broke in Blighty

Sometimes I dream of a world without money, where one could barter with services, exchange goods and do favours for friends. In my mind, it's a beautiful place. Of course, if on Saturday I win the lottery I'll change my tune completely. The moment the money hit my account I'd be prancing round like Liza Minnelli in Cabaret: "Money makes the world go round, the world go round, the world go round..." It would not be a pretty picture. Besides my lack of it, my biggest issue with money is that I don't understand it. Gold standards, exchange rates, inflation; these are all things that go straight over my head.

And then there are The Markets. What are The Markets, exactly? And how do they manage to buffet the little people around according to their evil whim? I physically can't comprehend how something that must have at one time been created by mankind, now rules over it. I hold my hands up and admit the there's much I don't understand, and I don't want to sound like I'm rubbishing the economic systems I know nothing about, but this is the full extent of my knowledge on the subject.

I'm writing this on the tube as I speed (I mean trundle painfully slowly) beneath the City of London, where the streets are paved with gold and a banker's bonus would pay off my parents' mortgage. Where dreams are made and payout records are broken.

I've read a lot recently about how deregulation of the bankers led to the economic crash in 2009 and, in a way, I sympathise with them. Perhaps, if when I first started on a regular salary I had saved some money, or at least budgeted, I would not be in the dire economic straits I am in today. But I was young, irresponsible and - as already demonstrated - completely and utterly financially naive. How could I say no when the bank offered to increase my overdraft? I thought it was free money. And when they sent me a credit card - the one that screamed USE ME every time I opened my wallet, how was I to resist? Other people did and do manage to resist though - and I envy their intelligence. I don't want to blame anyone but myself, but somewhere along the line I failed to grasp the true value of the coins in my pocket and the numbers on my bank statements. And, as with the banks, there was nobody there to regulate my epic spending levels.

Unfortunately, the taxpayer steadfastly refuses to bail me out; yet even so I am clawing my way slowly, but steadily, back into the black. It was a lesson I needed to learn, and part of me is pleased I went about learning it the hard way. I was ill-equipped to make any sort of financial decision and while I still don't understand the bigger economic picture, at least I've finally figured out my own.

Funnily enough, when I held my wallet upside down for the photo above, I found £1.46 I didn't know I had, and €0.20. So thanks TASG, for coming to my aid yet again!

Next instalment: Lauren vs The Dollar Bill

Monday, 24 January 2011

Going Loonie in The Great White North

I'm rich!

So we’re back to typing and writing - no vlogging this week, so I hope you enjoyed it last week - it may be awhile before any of us agree to do that again!

For our January posts we’ve been keeping them light and fun for the most part, but we all know that being a 20-something isn’t always fun. In the past we have tackled difficult subjects such as relationships, future ambitions and getting older. This week we are tackling the subject of money.


Here are some quick things about me and money:

• I work at a cafe and make minimum wage. My pay cheques - even though I work five days a week - are not enough to survive on my own. This sucks.

• I am currently paying back a hefty student loan. This also sucks, but I am responsible and diligent when it comes to making loan payments.

• I wish I could live without a lot of money - I just want to be happy and not care about money. But I also want a lot of freedom, and freedom costs a lot.

• I love to shop. I realize that it’s silly to buy things I don’t NEED, but my argument here is that these things make me happy (for the most part).

• For someone with very little, I am actually really good with my money. I have good credit and always pay bills early or on time. I also have RRSPs - so I’m also investing in my future.

• Greed makes me angry. I hate seeing people my age with so much, and yet they want more. I have nothing and would be happy with just a bit more - I am not cut out for capitalist society.

I wish I could do what I love and get paid for it. Is that too much to ask? A lot of people tell me that I should just do something - something that pays - and that it shouldn’t matter if I hate it because EVERYONE hates their job and that’s just how life is! I say NO! Why should I do something I hate just for money? If I’m miserable at work - and I’m at work most of the week - then what am I gaining? Money to save for when I’m too old to do anything? Yes I work at a cafe now - and it’s not ideal, and most days I hate it - but right now it’s what works for me. Yes, it’s stupid, but yeah, I’m holding out for better opportunities. At the end of the day I’ve made some awesome friends and have a few bucks in my pocket.

One thing I’d love to do is travel more - make that “perfect day” a reality (maybe split into four separate vacations though). Right now travel isn’t very realistic, unless I’m willing to go into a bit more debt for it. Everything I do puts me in a bit more debt, and then I recover, but I’m back to square one. I’m really debating that trip to the UK I mentioned before (in my what I want for 2011 post) - but what’s really halting me is lack of funds. Just say I’m still a barista when I decide to go - I’d have to book the time off - unpaid, obviously. I’d have to put the flight on my credit card, that would take months to pay back. I’d also need some spending money, and after converting Canadian dollars to Pounds Sterling, well I’d be left with a pitiful amount. What keeps me dreaming about this trip is that no one would be able to take that experience away from me - I’d always have the memories and I wouldn’t regret it. But money seems to always win. I feel like I’m too old to be reckless with the few bucks I do have. Should I stay or should I go? Should I be responsible or fun? Can’t I be both?

I do the same thing when buying unnecessary items - such as concert tickets, books, DVDs, music. While these items don’t really put me into debt, they also take away potential savings. When I get my tax money back or any government reimbursement cheque my first instinct is to spend it one something fun - because it’s like free money. But then I feel like I’m just acting like a kid with birthday money and that I need to be more grown-up and responsible. Getting older sucks sometimes!

Basically, when it comes to the little money I do have I am constantly playing tug-of-war with myself. Neither side is right or wrong, just a different approach to life. Some days my head is in the clouds and I feel myself wanting to click “Buy” on those plane tickets. Other days I close the window and try to forget about it.

I wish money didn’t always have the final say in my life. Lauren, maybe I should move to Portland, where young people go to retire.

See ya Wednesday Tom, ‘cause money can’t buy me love :)

P.S. A Loonie is a dollar coin in Canadian currency. We also have a two dollar coin known as a Toonie.

Friday, 21 January 2011

I (heart) Sleeping Till Eleven! (A TASG Production)

This vlog isn't nearly as wonderful as I hoped it would be.  I had all of these magnificent plans for it, but then I procrastinated/got sick.  So it's below the Lauren standard of excellance.  I apologize. 

Anyway, here is my take on national stereotypes:

Congratulations if you made it through the whole video.

See you next week!  :D

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I (heart) TEA - A TASG Production

Me and Charles Darwin

Guys. My video is rubbish - I was balancing my computer on my knee so the screen is wobbly, I accidentally dazzle myself with a tiny torch which I then bang against the keyboard for the rest of the video (without realising that it would be picked up by the mic. I am that stupid). There's also a bit where my phone vibrates and it sounds like a fart. A fart it is not, I promise you.

I am sorry. You deserve better, and are used to higher standards. Allison's video was great - Lauren's a vlog wizard. I have let the team down.

That said, without further ado, I introduce myself, Tom 'The Brit' Read, speaking about British stereotypes.

Good luck. If you get through the whole thing, I owe you a cuppa. Or a pint.

Monday, 17 January 2011

I (heart) Maple Syrup! - A TASG Production

Okay guys - welcome to the most EMBARRASSING THING I HAVE EVER DONE ON THIS BLOG. So, we decided to make Vlogs this week about our national stereotypes. As you can see from our header, and our "About Us" section - the three of us are from three different countries. I'm known as The Canuck because I live in Canada. So yeah, I made a video and it's really cheesy.

1) I used Garage Band and iMovie to make it, and my new Canon digital camera. The music at the beginning is from Garage's so cheesy, but I kind of love it.

2) I suck at talking to please don't mock the way I speak...I think I say "Candinadian" at one point.

3) I may never do this again.

I still have an embarrassing photo- because that's a tradition, so here that is...

Nothing to do with this post, but I just wanted to show off my
new T-shirt. It says "I <3 Jake Ryan."

Also, I blog a lot about Canada on my main blog My Quarter-life Crisis, here are some examples:

Toronto on the Big Screen

101 before 1001: Let's Toronto it Up

Canada is Cooler than You (Ontario Edition)

Oh! Canada! My Favourite Canadians!

Friday, 14 January 2011

The Part Of The Show Where We All Eat Croissants...

It's Friday, which means it's time to hear about Lauren's perfect day.  Tom and Allison's fabulous global adventures are pretty hard acts to follow, but here it goes:

Morning:  Paris, France

So there I am, wearing a fur stole and a beret, drinking some fancy, over-priced, French latte, and walking down the street at an hour that is totally unrealistic for me to be awake (here in Portland we all sleep till 11).  And then suddenly, I see that Tom guy that sometimes sends me drunk emails from across the globe.  And I'm like, "Holy shit!  You're that Tom guy that sometimes sends me drunk emails from across the globe!  Want to hang out and eat croissants?!"  And Tom is like, "Oh my gawd, I LOVE CROISSANTS!  Actually, I just ran into Allison and she was eating a croissant."  This blows my mind. 

Me:  "Allison is here too?!" 
Tom:  "Yeah, but I think she's on a date, I don't think we should bother her."   
Me:  "Oh come on.  We should totally bother her."
Tom:  "Okay, if you insist."

So we find Allison.  Her fantasy boyfriend Francois has just left to go wash his hair again, so we show up in time for leftover croissants.  The Eiffel tower is in the distance and I think Pink Martini's "Sympatique" is playing somewhere.  We have a lovely little visit before the time comes for us all to go our separate ways.  Allison vows to make a playlist next Tuesday in honor of the event and Tom lets me borrow his iPod so I can listen to Ace of Base on the way to my next location.

Afternoon:  Easter Island

I'm not entirely sure why, but seeing these weird tiki heads has always been a strange ambition of mine:

There are also some really sweet caves on this island to explore.  And in this fantasy, not only am I a spelunking champion, but I am accompanied by a handsome Chilean archaeologist who knows the layout and history of the caves.  Huzzah!

Evening:  The Egyptian Sand Sea near Siwa, Egypt

Unlike the other two places, this is a place I have been before.  It's actually one of my favorite places in the world, which is why I chose to include it in my perfect day. 

I am riding in a white jeep with an Egyptian man named Abdul and a couple of European tourists.  We stop on the top of a large dune to watch the sunset.  Abdul starts a fire and makes tea.  The red glowing ball known as the sun descends into the horizon and everything in the universe feels right. 

Evening:  Whichever European country has the cutest boys and the best discotheques

This one is fairly self-explanatory.  I am dressed to kill and dancing like there's no tomorrow.  Perfect end to a perfect day, right?  :D

Of course, there is a tomorrow.  I awake to the sound of a knock on my door.  I answer it reluctantly and it's the building manager telling me the water is down once again.  Disoriented, I realize I'm back to my life in Portland. 

And that concludes today's edition of The TASG.  This is The Yank, signing off!

Embarrassing Photo:  Exotic Edition

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Brit Abroad

After reading of Allison's globe-trotting Monday, I was quite tempted to steal it. Seriously; coffee, alcohol, FOOTBALL and polar bears. What more could you want? No. No, I'll keep mine. I'll follow Allison's route tomorrow. Today, my itinerary is as follows:

MORNING: Paris, France

I'm strolling down a leafy Parisian boulevard, minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye I notice a familiar face.
Me: "NO WAY! Allison?
Allison: "Hi -"
Me: "What are you doing here?" Having a croissant I see. I LOVE CROISSANTS. Mind if I join you?"
Allison: "Erm, well..."
Me: "Of course you don't. So tell me, how are things? All good I hope. I had a nightmare journey yesterday, I tell you. I got the train over from London last night, stuck in a tunnel for HOURS."

At this point a dashing young French man emerges from inside the café. I realise that Allison has company, and that I'm sitting on her company's seat and have started tucking into her company's croissant. I realise I am intruding on an otherwise very romantic picture.

Of course, as much as I would love to meet Allison face-to-face, my perfect morning would not actually involve gatecrashing an otherwise perfect date. But it would be in Paris. I find the city enchanting. It's so different to what I'm used to - London strikes me as a butch, brash and masculine city compared to its elegant, pretty yet no less bustling counterpart across the Channel.

So here I am, Paris. It's autumn and the trees that line the streets are shedding their brown leaves. I'm sitting on a balcony, overlooking a sea of rooftops, buildings jostling for space as far as the eye can see. The noise of a city waking up and dragging itself to work fills the air. The sky is blue and clear; a bright sunlight bounces off the pavements still wet from an early morning shower. It's a little cold, but I have a coffee to warm, and wake, me up.

And then I go and gatecrash Allison's date. Bonjour François!

AFTERNOON: Chia, Sardinia, Italy

'Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun' is truer than you may think. I'm the only one here. The locals have retired to their homes for lunch and to shelter from the heat. But I live in such a cold and grey country I stubbornly refuse. Instead, I sit on the beach, listening to the waves break on the shore as flamingos fly over head. Seagulls' cries float on the wind as a cloud passes over the sun.

On the the cliffs that jut out into the sea to my left, a ruined tower stands. It's incredible that it's still standing, at least in part. It must be as stubborn as me. And then I realise that my face is on fire. Aw crap.

[EDIT: This part would obviously not occur on the perfect day, but will occur without fail on every other holiday I go on. In October I went to Frankfurt with work. I spent all day, every day inside and came back with a tan. I have no idea how. Sunburnt Tom in picture below, for reference. Ouch.]

EVENING: Athens, Greece

I stand on the Acropolis looking out over the city, watching as the sun sets and shadow creeps over the rooftops. Behind me stands the Parthenon; an ancient wonder that I've been wandering around for the past half an hour. I've been taking it in, imagining how it used to look and wishing I'd seen it in its former glory. I wonder who walked this path 2,000 years ago and what sights the lifeless, stone eyes of the Erechtheum's caryatids have witnessed as time passed them by. The setting sun shines through its columns as I begin to head back down the hill. Back in the city, I choose a restaurant with a table outside. I sip at a cold glass of Mythos as I wait for my moussaka. The calm, before the storm.

NIGHT TIME: New York, US of A.

Yes, I've finally dragged my sorry arse out of the Old World and into the New. Where better to spend an evening than the city that never sleeps? Not that I've ever been, but I'm pretty sure I would be hard-pressed to not have a good time. I love cities, I love hustle and bustle, bright lights and loud noises. I drink until I'm drunk enough to dance, dance until I'm too tired to stand, sit and remind myself that I shouldn't ever dance in public.
And I tell you what else I'd do; I'd get the Subway really late at night (or early in the morning) because I've heard that in the Big Apple it runs all night. Imagine that for someone from London, or "the City That Packs Up and Goes to Bed at 12", leaving you to battle your own way home.

And then I wake up, and realise I'm incredibly late for work.

Monday, 10 January 2011

The Day I ate Croissants with Rugby Playing Polar Bears in Tokyo

Tom suggested the topic this week and it’s pretty fun. It’s nice to be creative sometimes. This time of year can be so dreary for those of us in the Northern parts of the world! So, the premise is that we have to breakdown a day into four parts: morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Each portion of the day will be “spent” in a different dream place - a place we’d want to be at that time of day, so in our minds we travel the world - escape our realities.

Welcome to my Perfect Day!

Morning: I’m in Paris, France - sitting on the patio of a tiny café enjoying a latte and a croissant. The Eiffel tower can be seen in the distance. I might have a book with me. It’s sunny and warm - jacket weather. My fantasy boyfriend François is sipping his espresso while reading the newspaper. He is wearing a cabbie/golf style hat and a scarf.
Afternoon: I’m in Churchill, Manitoba on a Polar Bear Expedition. I’m in a parka and it’s bloody cold, but I don’t care. I get to see polar bears in the wild and can die happy. Here, I meet a functioning alcoholic named Jim, originally from Winnipeg. He’ll try to get me to eat seal meat and I’ll refuse. He calls me a city slicker, but we’ll still take shots of whisky at the bar.
Evening: I’m in Dublin, Ireland at a pub. It’s cozy and filled with spirited locals. They know I’m a tourist and mock me for it - but it’s all in good fun. I eat a hearty meal of comfort foods while a “football” or rugby match plays on the televisions. I meet a cute local, but I forget his name and start calling him Patrick or Paddy - he does not like this. I ask him, drunkenly, if he can chase all the snakes away from Canada.
Night: I’m in Tokyo, Japan. It’s busy and chaotic - but wonderful. The city lights are spectacular. Nothing makes sense, but it’s okay. I dance with young Japanese boys, and won’t learn a single name. I’ll disappear into the night and wake up in my bed in Ontario - I’ll look out my window and see snow and wonder where all the polar bears are.

But sadly due to time differences, money, and the fact that I'm not adventurous, I am stuck in this for a few more months:

Photo by me.

So this gal, from the Great White North, is signing off till next Monday. So enjoy my fantasy world guys!

Oh!! Canada
See ya Tom - Thanks for the sweet topic idea!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Dear 2011, Bring It On!

Shortly after midnight on January 1st of 2011, somebody asked me what my plans for the year were.  And in my fairly drunken slightly tipsy state, I replied with the following:

In 2011, I am going to:

1) Finish my rock opera
2) Do more shows
3) Stop putting up with shit from other people
4) Land a record deal
5) Be really @#$%ing famous

I think the person that asked me that was a little bit surprised at my response.  Actually, I think I was even a little surprised at my response.  For once, I hadn't spent a lot of time calculating my New Year's Resolutions and therefore didn't have a rehearsed, choreographed answer. 

I don't really expect to become really @#$%ing famous in the year 2011, but I do hope to make some progress in my "career" as a writer/musician/creative nut job.  I also hope to do a bit of travelling.  Location is not important, I just want to go somewhere.  I also have a silly goal for the rock musical I'm writing:  I want to have it produced somewhere this summer.  This could be anywhere from Broadway to my basement. 

Anyway, I'm pretty excited to see what this year brings.  I'm going to continue to live life the way I've been living it for the past few months and see what happens. 

I'm also excited to see what happens to the TASG in 2011.  Yay team!

Alright, that's all I've got.

An embarrassing photo was taken of me on New Years but it's on someone else's camera.  I'll track it down and post it up here later.


Wednesday, 5 January 2011

2011 Things I Want From This Year

The obligatory New Year's Eve photo (this hug lasted 20 minutes). Compare and contrast with Allison's photo - you can see the Canuck is by far the more presentable.

Anyway - the title. Don't worry, I won't be listing 2011 of anything. It was just a cunning little ploy to lure you in (or scare you off?). I will, however, be talking about what I'd like the new year to bring, looking forward and not back - which for someone who spends his life looking over his shoulder is quite a big deal.

Due to some intense pressure from my colleagues, I've decided to make one resolution for 2011 - I usually don't make any. I would like (and this will require both forward planning and dedication on my part) to reconnect with some of the friends I've let slip away. People I've lived with, laughed with, spent hour after hour talking rubbish with. People who now live far away, whom I seldom see but think about often. I know that it's a fact of life that some friendships don't last - sometimes, there's little you can do to halt the decay as two friends grow apart and lose the things they held in common, that held them together. In times like these, there's little point in fighting it.

But there are others that can be salvaged, and should be. There are many people who have meant a great deal to me in the past - and still do - whom I haven't seen for years. And so, I aim to go and see at least 5 of them, wherever they may be. To reminisce, to reconnect and to reassure them that they aren't forgotten. As an added bonus, I will have an opportunity to visit other towns and cities. I know that I live on a tiny island, but I've hardly seen any of it and it's been so long since I left London, even for a weekend. I can't even remember the last time I headed north. This shall change in 2011.

I would also ask that 2011 brings with it a few other changes. 2010 was more or less stagnant - a long, hard uphill slog with precious little reward. I am in much the same position now as I was last January. Hopefully, with a bit of effort and hard work, I'll be able to break out of the rut I find myself in and embrace something new and exciting. I think I need to feel like I'm progressing, and, if I can just tackle my laziness, this is perfectly achievable.

So, in 2011 I shall rekindle old friendships and, in doing so, see somewhere other than the capital. I'll also be keeping my fingers crossed that, come January 2012, I'll be able to look back and see that my life has changed for the better - rather than having stayed exactly, and depressingly, the same. That's not too much to ask, is it?

In the back of mind however, I have a sneaking suspicion that 2011 will not be a good year. I know it's a pessimistic outlook, but sometimes you have to trust your instincts. But while I've decided my year will probably be rubbish, I've decided that your 2011's must be fantastic. They simply must. I won't have it any other way, you hear?

Monday, 3 January 2011

This Title is Witty

Welcome to the future! It's 2011! The TASG is still here for you! Hope you all had fun New Year's Eve's and if not, are you really surprised? Is it ever as fun as you think it will be?

One of my regular customers, a cute snowboarder/graphic designer, came in on Saturday - he was haggard and hungover and looking for coffee. When I asked if it was a fun party he said, "it was all right - but it's never the New Year's you imagine for yourself." I couldn't agree more! I gave him some water and wished him a happy and healthy 2011.

As for me, I went to a party - I wore a pretty dress and did my hair and put on lipstick...and stood in someone's dirty kitchen and drank out of a red plastic cup. This was not the New Year's Eve I dreamt of. I felt overdressed and a bit old for the crowd.

New Year's Eve!
Anyways, this week isn't about drunken (or not, in my case) New Year's Eve stories - this week is about the future. This week the Transatlantic Support Group wants to kick the year off right by talking about what we each want for ourselves in 2011!

I try not to make resolutions - I feel like doing so makes me feel like I'm breaking my own heart repeatedly. Yeah, I'd love to lose 15 pounds, I'd love to get a "real" job and move into my own place - but those things aren't guaranteed and I hate making promises I can't keep.

There are a few things I'd like to do this year and I hope I can!

1) Travel to the UK to visit my cousin and his wife.

They recently moved to Bath from London, and I love Bath (I visited there briefly in 2003 when I travelled with my family). I'd like to go alone this time - it would be an adventure and a trip I'd never forget or regret. I might go further into debt for it, but it might be worth it. While I'm still young, right?

2) Get that second tattoo I've been meaning to get.

Showing off the shoes again, plus my first tattoo!
I've been talking about a second tattoo for a while now, and I think I'd like to finally commit to that. I know what I want, it's just a matter of deciding when. I'm thinking early Spring.

3) Run another 5K run (possibly more).

I'm definitely going to do Terry Fox again, but maybe I'll do a road race this year too. I'd like to push myself and try to do a more competitive run. I'm not a great runner, but it's something I'd like to strive for.

4) Take better care of myself.

I get stressed out way too easily and I need to start controlling my emotions. I need to also get over my fear of doctors.

5) Write more.

This could mean journaling, blogging, or just my own personal writing that I may or may not share with anyone. My point is that I would like to try to exercise my creativity a bit more, even if it's just for me.

Anyways, I can't think of any more things to share - who knows what will happen in 2011! I wish you all the very best!

Love you! You all get the midnight kiss I never got!
Happy New Year Tom - can't wait to hear about your hopes & dreams for the year!

Also, I've said this before - but if there are any topics you think we should cover?

Saturday, 1 January 2011

I Was Supposed To Post This Last Year...

Oy!  It's me - Late Lauren.  Happy New Year, amigos.

Aaaaand now it's time for my round of best TASG posts!  :)

Best Overall Post:

Allison - F%#k it, I'm Just Going To Get A Bunch Of Cats.  It was a tough choice because the Canuck  is infamous for churning out quality posts week after week, but this one definitely caught my attention.  It's honest, it's funny, it comes with song recommendations and has pseudo swearing in the title.  How could you go wrong?  

Tom - Can I Phone A Friend?  This was also a tough choice because the Brit charms us with his wit on a weekly basis, but his introductory post is definitely a great read.

Funniest Post:

Allison - I'll Leave You Alone Forever Now.  I especially love the strategies on how to escape awkward moments, complete with pictures!  

Tom - Ground Swallow Me Up, ASAP.  I agree with Allison on this one - the x-rated tale of exposed genitalia is possibly one of the funniest things that has happened on this blog so far.  

Best Title:

Allison - Caught In A Landslide, No Escape From Reality.  Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics generally beat everything else.  It's like pulling out a grenade in a game of rock, paper, scissors.

Best Embarrassing Photo:

Allison - Captain Planet!  Though it's more bad ass than embarrassing.  

Tom - Top Hat Tom, The Aspiring Button Designer!

So there you have it - Best Of The TASG 2010.  Can't wait to see what 2011 brings for our little transatlantic support group!

And hopefully none of us will ever have to see that awful New Wave Teddy Bear picture again.  Hahahahaha...