Tag Archives: Friends

Merzybean’s Year in Review: 2013

31 Dec

It feels as though the end of the year is always an appropriate time for reflection. This December 31st is no different. 2013 has been one hell of a year.

Last year, I blogged about whether or not New Year’s resolutions are worthwhile, or simply a waste of time.  While I still hold onto the belief that it is always acceptable and encouraged to take a retrospective approach to an upcoming year, the ideology that a new year brings new opportunities and fresh beginnings is often a little bit idealistic (I’m not jaded).

Why must we wait for a new year to make a change in our lives? I am going to take the opportunity this New Year’s Eve to reflect on my past year’s triumphs and challenges, rather than set myself up for failure with resolutions that I may or may not commit to. I think that resolutions encourage positive change and am not discouraging any of you from making a resolution or two for yourself. I just want to make changes in my life as I am mentally and physically capable of doing so, on a day to day basis, rather than mapping out my entire year before it has even begun. 

Picture 1

I do think that it is important to look back on the year, however. I learned a lot about myself this year. I shall share, without going into too many personal details:

  • I am more capable of overcoming obstacles than ever before
  • Family is everything
  • Friends are family that you choose to have in your life
  • I strive to be the wife that my husband deserves
  • Teaching is truly a vocation in my life (far beyond a career choice)
  • Kids really do say the darndest things; especially my grade 7s
  • Photography is a passion that I definitely want to pursue further
  • Procrastination is my biggest enemy
  • Turning 25 makes me feel like a real grown up
  • I have a backbone and deserve to stand up for myself


I wish all of my readers and friends a safe and prosperous New Year. I hope that you spend the evening with loved ones and I look forward to sharing more posts with all of you, here on Merzybean, in 2014.

See you next year,



The Value of Sharing Photographs

16 Aug

A photograph holds so much value; from the memories that it eternalizes, to the bursts of nostalgia that it ignites, a photograph speaks a lot more than just 1000 words.  My passion for photography began at a really early age and I knew that when it came time to get married, pictures would be a big focus of importance in the wedding planning process.

Having recently been married, I can speak to the importance of photography. Weddings involve several different stages and a photograph is the best way to capture a snapshot of each of these milestones that lead up to the main event. Between the engagement photos, wedding ceremony and the wedding reception, there are several memories to be captured.


Once all of the photos have been taken, what do you do with them? Do they sit on your computer in a folder that gets neglected? Do the pictures stay on a CD or a USB stick that eventually gets lost over time? I am all about printing my photographs and having the memories live on, rather than having the pictures become out of sight and out of mind. One of my favourite ways to keep the memories alive is to create a photo book so that I can enjoy my pictures.

When I was in high school, I went on a trip to Italy and the photographs that I had from that trip were unbelievable. I decided that I needed to do something more than just put the pictures into a photo album. I stumbled across Shutterfly and that changed the way I share my photographs. I put together a beautiful hardcover photo book that I was able to customize and share with my family and friends. Another photo book that I made, also with Shutterfly, was a memory book for my husband on our 1 year dating anniversary back in 2007.


The beauty of a photo book is that the final product is what you make it to be; you can customize the photo book to be unique to you. I plan on making a photo book for my wedding, the tricky part is deciding which photographs to use! Sharing photographs stirs valuable conversation, evokes memories that are near and dear to my heart, and I am able to relive special moments in my life that I never want to forget.

How do you share your photos?


Happy Thanksgiving!

7 Oct

It’s hard to believe that Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us already. I absolutely love celebrating Thanksgiving because it is a holiday full of quality family time and delicious food. Not a bad combination, in my books!

When we first came to Canada, the Thanksgiving tradition was very new to my family but we embraced it completely.

While it is important to count our blessings everyday, I think it is nice to have a day dedicated to sharing what we are grateful for with others. So, with that being said, here is a list of what I am grateful for this year:

  • Being engaged to a wonderful man
  • Having two degrees under my belt
  • Planning an exciting wedding
  • Having a family who loves me unconditionally
  • Siblings who, no matter what, will have my back
  • Friends who are loyal and reliable, both new and old
  • Being a part of special friends’ weddings
  • Friends’ engagements
  • New opportunities that have come my way recently

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, but I hope that everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving with their loved ones.

What are you thankful for?


Get Your Game Face On

3 Apr

One of my favourite hobbies is playing games with my friends. This has always been one of our favourite things to do as a group and this has been the case for over ten years! My parents ignited my love for boardgames from an early age.

I wanted to share with you all a few of my favourite board games and party games, in no particular order.

1. Apples to Apples

This game is fantastic because you can have between 4 and 10 players. The objective of the game is once the cards (red apples) have been dealt, a green apple is drawn. Each player must select the card from their individual hand and put it in the center of the table face down, selecting a card that they think works best with the word on the green apple card. Each round has a judge, so choosing the card is also determined based on who the judge is. If the judge selects your card, you win that round. The role of judge alternates every round and it adds a fun dynamic to the game because some rounds get more heated than others.

The other great part about this game is that every time you play it is a completely different experience. Whether it is because of the people you are playing with, or the cards you are dealt. This is a must play game if you’re looking for a fun couple hours.

2. Taboo

Taboo is one of my favourite games. I have played it with my friends, family and even my students! Warning to teachers playing Taboo in class, skim through the cards because hearing a grade 12 boy describe lingerie to his team is slightly uncomfortable.

The object of the game is to describe the word at the top of the card, without using any of the 5 words listed underneath the word. Here’s an example:

If you accidentally say one of the forbidden words, a member from the opposing team will buzz you with the obnoxious sounding buzzer provided. Each team will try and go through as many cards as possible within the time limit. This game is always fun when playing with close friends/family because you can often use inside jokes or say things that will be a direct hint for what the desired word is. Taboo is a fun, lighthearted game that always has the players laughing as each round goes by.

3. Cranium

The beauty of Cranium is that this game is fun for everyone. Like a traditional board game, the objective of the game is to move your player piece around the board and reach the center of the board first. The great part about Cranium is how you arrive to this point. There are four different options in Cranium: Creative Cat, Star Performer, Word Worm and Data Head. Each turn is unpredictable because you can go from answering a trivia question, to humming the tune of a song, to sculpting an object, to unscrambling a word. This game gives everyone an opportunity to shine, whether you’re a right brain or a left brain.

4. Settlers of Catan

It’s true what they say, don’t judge a book (or a game in this case) by its cover! My good friends, Amy and Ross, are wonderful hosts for many of our frequent game nights. It was at their house that I was introduced to The Settlers of Catan, or Catan for short. This game did not sound appealing to me originally and I regret doubting this game because it is truly amazing.

The objective of this game is strategy based, which makes for a great competition.   Players must expand their colonies by building roads, settlements, and villages by harvesting commodities. The Settlers of Catan website explains in more detail: Trade sheep, lumber, bricks and grain for a settlement, bricks and wood for a road, or try to complete other combinations for more advanced buildings, services and specials.

Trade with other players, or at local seaports to get resources you might lack. The first player to achieve 10 points from a combination of roads, settlements, and special cards wins.

If the opportunity ever arises, do not pass up the chance to play Catan. The game could last up to several hours but the fight to the end is always a lot of fun.

5. Trivial Pursuit

Of course, everyone knows about Trivial Pursuit. Trivial Pursuit is an obvious classic. The objective of the game, for those of you who are unfamiliar (if there are any of you), is to move around the board and answer questions correctly. You receive a wedge for answering a question correctly. There are 6 categories so you want to get a wedge from each category, answering a question correctly for each of the categories, and get to the end of the game first.  Whether you win or lose, you always leave with a little bit of useless trivia at the end of a game of Trivial Pursuit.

If you have any favourite games that you want to share, please do!

Until next time,