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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Life and Lou

I often start my blogs off with a comment about how crazy life has been and an explanation about why I have been too busy too blog. This blog is no different. Since leaving the radio game and moving back home to the Annapolis Valley things have been different, busy and very adult. I know that is a weird way to explain it but we have a new responsibility that is making us feel extremely accountable for my time, a puppy. I have discussed getting a puppy in previous blogs, when the puppies were born before we actually took custody of our little guy.

Now our lives are all about Lou.

Seriously. Lou is ruling all right now at 5 Lodge. Let me explain…

Lou looking pretty annoyed after his first bath.
Growing up my family always had a dog, always. Living on a big farm it was never a problem, it was natural to have a puppy that overtime transitioned into a dog that could be left alone and find things to do all day.

The last time I blogged about the puppies we had not determined which one we would pick. I am happy to announce we have a 9-week-old addition to the family who is relatively lazy male that is about 99% cocoa chocolate lab in the sun. He is pretty much black but it has been debated off and on since we brought him home, I think he is just a very dark brown. To celebrate his 9-week birthday I bathed him for the first time and he is not very happy about it. He is growing so fast, I wish we could freeze him in time for a little while.

Life has changed in the week and a half since we brought Lou home. We have scheduled every last minute outside of our house so that Lou will not be alone, since he came home he has only been left home alone for about an hour total. He was not a fan. We have had to settle in at night a lot earlier, Lou wakes up rather early for us and sleep levels have been rather low. Being completely honest, Lou sleeps on the bed. I said it would never happen, but he really does not like to be alone on his mat or in his crate in the dark.

Lou hates the car. Soon he will be too big to hold, to carry or to even sit on my lap. If is mother is a good indicator of his future behavior than it won’t matter how big he gets, he will still try to be a lap dog.

Lou has definitely been a learning experience and it is really about time that I develop a backbone. Between the three of us we have all given in to Lou a lot. He has been incredibly easy to teach to do his business outside, now we have to teach him how to be alone. I think it is going to be much tougher. Working at the restaurant I have been home all day with him and given up my gym time and the boys have been staying at home with in the evenings while I have been at work.

This brings me to another big piece of news, proving everything in life really does happen all at once. I have accepted a 9-5 job in an industry I never thought I would work in, banking. I will be taking on a marketing role with a bank in the Annapolis Valley (I will give more details after I actually get rolling with the job on Monday) starting Monday. As I was offered this unique opportunity to develop my marketing skills I was also offered another opportunity in the industry I am actually trained in, radio. I do not want to give out too many specifics because that role has not been advertised yet, but turning it down was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

Before moving to the Kootenays the exact same thing happened to me, I was offered a Promotions Director gig at a Calgary station and the Midday Host/Promotions Coordinator position (that I accepted) for Vista Radio Kootenays. I maintain that I made the right call there, moving to BC and taking on the roles that I filled at the station was a big challenge for me; I hope I will learn as much with this new position I am taking on here in the Annapolis Valley.

I am very sad about my continued temporary hiatus from the radio world, but I think this is the best decision for the time being.

Now to wean Lou off of all the daytime attention he has been receiving. Right now he is pretty annoyed with me for bathing him so he has cut me off, lets see how long it lasts!

One last thing, did I mention how fast he is growing?

Sometimes I write my blogs to get something off my chest or to practice writing creatively or objectively if I have been silent for a little while. This blog is simply a reminder to future Kate about this weird phase of life, when everything seemed to be inconveniently coming together after a shit storm of craziness. Sorry for the language there, but I could not think of a better way to describe the last few months.

This is a reminder that at a time when everything was swirling and twirling around in life (the way it does for 25 year olds) there was a 9 week old little puppy around who wanted nothing more than to cuddle up all day and sleep on your feet to keep you in one place for a little while. Someday Lou will not want to slow me down, unfortunately I fear that the day is coming soon that will have me struggling to keep up with him. I saw hints of this today as I fought to keep him in the bathtub. This is a reminder of his needy/toddler days when it was a challenge for Lou to stay awake to play sometimes because his little puppy eyes needed to nap.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Yes Please" by Amy Poehler

My drive home from work today was extremely lonely. I have been spending the last week and a half with a bright, hilarious, female companion as I ripped around the Annapolis Valley. I have been listening to “Yes Please” the new audio book by the brilliant Amy Poehler.

I am a BIG fan of listening to the comedians read their own books as I drive; it helps pass the incredible amount of time I spend in my car. Whilst listening to incredible books like Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” and Mindy Kaling’s “Is EveryoneHanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)” I actually started to resent having passengers during my trips who distracted me from listening to the special voices living inside my car. “Yes Please” was no different. My sister and other travel companions would recognize Poehler’s voice instantly and tell me to continue listening with them or start the book over.

Sometimes it is nice to have a little something to yourself, even if people all over the world are enjoying the same thing at the exact same time. There is something so intimate and private about listening to someone read you a book and tell you their stories that it makes you feel connected to them in a way that would probably creep them out (at least a little bit).

To be honest with you I am not big on listening to books that are anything other than authors talking about their own lives. I could never listen to Game of Thrones via audio book, although it would take until I settled into retirement to finish them. Listening to Tina and Mindy’s books really added that special touch, something I think I missed by reading Sarah Silverman’s ballsy “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee”.

Listening to “Yes Please” was a treat. Poehler’s book is honest in a way that the other books in the female comedian semi-biography genre are not. Her take on life, her words of advice and her humble roots combine to make a very accessible book that can be appreciated by readers of all ages. I love the cameo voice-overs interjecting with advice and bits throughout the book as well. Not only does Amy offer up words of wisdom from experience her parents also interject with more advice on living.

I love the advice on everything from sex to tipping waiters in “Yes Please” but I can happily tell you that the book is not preachy. Poehler’s counsel is perfectly balanced with tales from her childhood and her personal and professional life as an adult. As much as I love Parks and Recreation I am happy that she feels too close to the show right now to write in depth about it, she acknowledges the impact of the show on her life but leaves more to be discussed (hopefully) in her next book.

It is hard to determine what my favourite part of the book is because the entire book was a pleasure to listen too. I can narrow it down to three parts:
-      Amy reflecting back on her time at SNL. I believe that the set of Saturday Night Live is equally as magical as Disney World/Land and listening to Amy talk about her time as part of the cast makes me feel like I am listening to a child talk about why they like Christmas so much.
-      Listening to Amy discuss her appreciation and love for the cast of Parks and Recreation. It sounds like the incredible characters that have made us love them on TV are just as easy to love off-screen. The workplace environment Poehler discusses sounds like the dream, there’s nothing better than working with talented, fun individuals who mesh well. You can hear the love in her voice when she talks about her co-workers and that is something to be cherished. It is nice to know that the cast of Parks and Recreation will miss working together as much (or more) than the fans will miss watching it after the final season.
-      The advice. Yes, I had to mention it one more time… and tip your server well. Words of wisdom touch on many topics like finding confidence, sleep deprivation, hugging inappropriate people and finding ways to be fun/funny during challenging times. There is a gem for everyone in this book.  

Poehler’s book is a winner; pick it up for any lady on your Christmas list this year. Or better yet, check out the audio book and have the one and only Amy Poehler read it to her herself! 

Last thought on “Yes Please”:

I think Amy Poehler could be the next Oprah. I just deleted a long paragraph justifying my stance on this statement but I really think you should let your mind wander on this topic until you agree with me. My question to you is, who would be her Gail? I would do crazy things to be invited to the “Amy’s Favourite Things” episode of this hypothetical television show…

For now I guess you can settle for checking out the "Yes Please" tour! For showtimes and locations click here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pick A Puppy!

Television channels that were originally dedicated to promoting and playing music have been the source of endless jokes here in Canada because of their lacklustre attempts to meet their mission statement over the past few years. I have been a champion of knocking MuchMusic, CMT and the like for allowing YouTube to takeover the music video scene. It all started so innocent with spinoff shows that were relevant to music and then these channels just gave up and started airing shows that have no business on airwaves that should be representing a genre of music.

I could rant about this all day, but this blog is a little bit of an apology to the CMT network. On top of being a little critical of our Canadian music television channels for checking out of the music game for a majority of the day, I had been especially hard on the CMT network for their television show “Pick A Puppy”. I still think it is crazy that there is an entire television show dedicated to families picking out their dream puppy, but after a couple of weeks with free reign to pick my own puppy I have come to the conclusion it is much more difficult than I originally thought.

My afternoons have been spent visiting my Grandmother’s ten new additions to the family and I have been having an impossible time deciding on the puppy I want to bring home forever. We have it narrowed down to three but time is ticking down. People have begun visiting and claiming their own new little furry friends and I feel a little hopeless. Boy? Girl? Who knows! It is between two big boys and the tiniest little girl. One of the boys is a little bear who can fall asleep anywhere. The other boy we have named Ruxin, he is slightly whiny and has a white tuft on his stomach. The smallest girl is adorable. She does her own thing and is never with the other puppies (they kind of pick on here). My grandmother babied her to ensure she received enough food during the first few weeks; she is still small but she is incredibly feisty. I call her Gadget and I think she might be my favourite.

I have no idea how this is going to turn out. Will we end up with a big, lazy boy or a small energetic girl? Will they all end up massive black labs in the end? One more time, who knows?

We will see in the next couple of weeks! I am so excited to bring our little lad/lass home and baby the crap out of them!

My indecisiveness can be summed up in less than 500 words and I have been spending hours each week with these puppies. I maintain that there is no reason to have an entire television show devoted to the puppy picking process.
A photo posted by Kate Bruce (@kategbruce) on

Friday, November 7, 2014

"The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg

Would you like to quit smoking? Start working out regularly? Follow a healthy eating plan? Or kick a nasty habit like biting your nails or hitting the snooze button every morning? The empowering read you are looking for is "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg.

I have known for a long time the power of habits and routine. For example, the only times I have been successful (in my mind anyways) at being a healthy adult were during times when I could establish a proper routine and develop good habits. Right now I am in one of the "cue, routine, reward" loops that Duhigg describes in the book, I have been going to the gym now for 33 weeks straight (minus one week while at Disney World) and have worked out 184 times. It is all because I made going to the gym and working out part of my daily routine and it eventually became a habit. 

It all started for me when I returned home from my previous vacation. While visiting San Diego for a week in February everyone made time to go to the gym but me. I had been working on a side project at work and in was consuming all of my down time on vacation. All of a sudden my Grandfather passed away while I was on the other side of the planet enjoying the California sunshine. My Grandfather's health had been an issue as long as I could remember, so I made a pact with myself that on my first day back at the station after vacation I would hit the gym for my lunch hour. 

I had been religiously going to the gym before I started my "grown-up" 9-5 job. After moving to British Columbia I found I had no time to go to the gym and for eight months focused on my new job and my new home. On the first day back from California I joined Peak Physique in Castlegar, British Columbia and hauled my ass to the gym every workday (and some weekends) until my next move at the end of July. 

I knew it was going to be a struggle when another move popped up, but I have continued to venture to the gym at least five times a week even when in different provinces and forced to use hotel fitness facilities. For me it was never about a number, how much I weigh is not really something that bothers me and loosing weight is definitely not my focus. Going to the gym and eating properly has always been better for me mentally than physically. Feeling good on the inside translates to looking good and hitting the gym helps me curb some of my anxiety and burn off extra energy. 

Everyday I wake up and I hit the gym. My cue is sliding out of bed and into workout clothing. My routine is drinking my pre-workout, driving to the gym and then working out. My reward is a little time in the sauna reading, enjoying a protein shake and that post-workout high. 

An area that I need to start applying the "cue, routine, reward" theory is with my online life. If you follow my blog you can tell that I really do not spend much time writing right now, my website needs to be revamped and well my social media pages are pretty dull. Moving across the country has really killed the amount of time I spend online. While working at the radio station I spent lots of time online at work and while I was at home but now I have lots of other priorities that do not include looking for hot topics to talk or write about. Right now I am working "offline", I am not intentionally avoiding the internet but just do not have the time for the things that were really important to me at this time last year.

It has been a nice break but I am looking forward to figuring out a way to include more time for writing and creativity in my new routine. Any tips? I have always been big on lists and charting my goals, this is something I need to work into my new living situation. I have always created little nooks and areas in my living spaces to do my work, this is lacking from my new house. Maybe my first reward for blogging everyday for a month could be a new desk? Hmmmm... or I'm thinking a coffee everyday on my way home from the gym to help the creative juices flow while writing my daily blog? We will see... that could get expensive. 

What did you do to kick your nasty habits?

If you have yet to figure out how to start a new routine for yourself or quit a habit or addiction I recommend "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg.. I have always been a fan of buying books at the airport and this book was up there on the list of my favourites. It was incredibly easy to follow and I could not put it down. I actually read over half of the book while on my flights from Orlando back to Halifax. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

My First Trip To Disney World!

It has been a little over a week since I left the place "where dreams come true" and re-joined the real world. Returning to Nova Scotia in full-fledged fall was a shock to the system, when we left for Florida we had been experiencing unseasonably high temperatures for Canada's Ocean Playground in October. I'm talking a week

long stretch in that had hit 20 degrees every day. I don't think we have had a truly nice day here in the sunny Annapolis Valley since we returned... gross. 

Back to the magic... Our trip to Disney World was amazing! It was my first time visiting Florida and it turns out going at the end of October is the perfect time of year (for me anyways) to go. Everyday was sunny and in the high 20s or low 30s and I don't think I felt a drop of rain after stepping off the plane! 

The entire trip was fabulous; we spent everyday of our seven-day trip exploring the four Disney parks. There really is so much to do we were fully immersed and could have used an extra day. Our longest day was Saturday (the first day we were at the park) we started at the Animal Kingdom when it opened and finished the day off with "Extra Magic Hours" at the Magic Kingdom until about 2am. It was a long day, so we napped after lunch. Taking advantage of the extra hours was key, we felt like we accomplished so much in one day so we did not have to rush as much the rest of the trip. 

So much of the "magic" actually happened before we ever left Nova Scotia. If you are a seasoned Disney Adventurer you may not be a fan of the new "My Disney Experience" app and system for reserving "Fastpasses" and experiences but it was a huge help and a nice guiding hand for our trip. We never waited more than 30 minutes to get on a ride and that only happened once in the Magic Kingdom for the hottest ride at Disney, "The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train". To be fair 30 minutes is a very short wait to get on this red-hot ride; we experienced it at about 1am during the "Extra Magic Hours". The only unfortunate thing about the new "My Disney Experience" app and planning website is that things can be fully booked up (like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) before you start planning your trip! This happened to us so we knew that it was do-or-die to get on the ride and we took our one shot when we could in the middle of the night. It turned out that as I was trolling the system the night before our last day of vacation someone else cancelled Fastpasses for the ride so we snagged them and got to ride New Fantasyland's crown jewel a second time. 

Speaking of New Fantasyland lets take a second and talk about the addition to the Magic Kingdom that is bringing the crowds back to Disney World to re-experience the magic. I am so happy that my first visit to Disney World was after the New Fantasyland expansion. We truly experienced New Fantasyland from hanging out in Gaston's Tavern to telling Belle a story as part of "Enchanted Tales With Belle" we did it all! I strongly recommend booking meal Fastpasses and pre-ordering food at "Be Our Guest". We only did quick-service dining in the Magic Kingdom and our meal in the Beast's castle was by far the best quick-service meal we had! (You can check out the Fastpass system for "Be Our Guest" here

Well now that the magical part of the trip has been discussed lets travel back to the adult world. As a twenty-five year old woman I would have to select the World Showcase as my favourite part of the trip. We were lucky enough to experience the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival while we visited, making the World Showcase even more interesting. With the added booths it truly made it feel like you were walking around the World. We had the majority of our table service meals at Epcot's World Showcase; it was like dining in a new country every night! For a look at some of the restaurants we visited you can check out my profile on Trip Advisor

We also enjoyed The Animal Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios. We felt as though The Animal Kingdom was a true half-day park for us but we also felt that it was home to the best roller coaster of any of the parks, Expedition Everest. Yes, we liked it more than the Mine Train! Hollywood Studios also had rides that we loved, but overall had an empty feeling... like there was a lot of space ready to be transformed. The "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster" and "Tower of Terror" were rides that we absolutely loved and had us coming back to Hollywood Studios day after day. We also had one of the BEST meals of our trip at Hollywood Studios at "Hollywood & Vine". Yes, this was a little questionable as the restaurant is the host of the Disney Junior character dining experience and we really did not care to see any of the characters because we are adults without children, but the menu looked amazing! The food selection did not disappoint. Though the kids rain around willy-nilly chasing the characters and mowing down chicken nuggets, I totally recommend this restaurant (and the lobster mac & cheese) to everyone! 

"Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party" was another highlight of the trip, getting to dress-up and run around the Magic Kingdom trick-or-treating made me feel like a giant child! World Showcase may have been my favourite adult part of the trip, but my inner-child loved the Magic Kingdom! We brought a massive haul of candy back to our hotel room and still had a full bag leftover when we arrived home. The photo opportunities were really neat with rarely seen Disney characters and the atmosphere in the park was spooky... It was busier than I expected on a Tuesday night with ten days to go before Halloween, next time I would try to go in late September to beat the crowds. 

Overall we had an awesome time at Disney World. It was the first time in a long time that I have skipped the gym and discarded my healthy eating habits. I was feeling a little sluggish towards the end of the trip after being fuelled by sugar and sweets for an entire week, but that is part of vacation, right? On a side note, everyday we took on average about 30,000 steps! Tracked with the brilliant "Breeze" app it was fun to keep track just how much we were walking and then figure out the distances. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Well it has been an exciting few weeks! I finally visited Disney World last week (more to come on that later), I’ve been working quite a bit and super nesting in the new house!

On top of all the travel and craziness almost a month ago something very exciting happened, my grandmother’s Golden Labrador had puppies! 10 beautiful puppies are my obsession right now; I think I may even get one! There are six female and four male. It surprised all of us that all ten are pretty much solid black! The litter of Yellow Lab crossed with Chocolate Lab is black!

The puppies are now beginning to be fun. Their eyes are open and they are moving around. Some are a lot chubbier than the others so they kind of look like little seals flopping around and the leaner ones are walking. Soon they will be playing and exhibiting their personalities, I can’t wait!

This is my Grandmothers dog’s second litter of puppies. The first litter we crossed the Yellow Lab with a Standard Poodle for Labradoodles, it was much smaller with six puppies. Four of the Labradoodles were yellow and the other two were black. They were adorable!

I’ll update the blog with puppy cuteness, as they get even cuter! If you know anyone in Nova Scotia looking for an adorable Black Lab puppy feel free to email me!