Click the photo above to redirect to Midnight Drafts.
Today I’d like to talk about a project that I am very much invested in. As the social media director of registered charity Student Unity Project (SUP), I’m very excited to take part in the charity’s imitative in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial: #150Apologies. As I’ve written about in the past, my volunteer work with them is something that means a great deal to me.
You can join us on our journey to being Upstanders not Bystanders! SUP will be collecting 150+ video and picture apologies from across the nation to showcase in our video montage, in collaboration with Live 8 Productions Inc. By submitting an apology, you have the opportunity to make a stand against bullying and become a role model to promote healing. We are going to let Canadians know our nation will not tolerate bullying and that we are global role models. Regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, or any other “differences”, we are looking to all Canadians to show the world how we stand up against bullying, bystanding, and exclusion.
You can apologize via video. You can apologize by taking a picture of an apology letter. You can apologize with a group of friends, classmates, or individually.
To submit your apology, you can do so via Twitter (tag @SUPdurham) or Instagram (we’ll search the hashtag!), and include the hashtag #150Apologies. You can also submit online using our submission form by clicking here. For video submissions we prefer web-ready video formats and recommend Dropbox for submitting large video files.
SUP has been identified by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario as an official Signature Project of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, and has even been featured live on CBC, as you can see in my interview above. With support from both governments and Canadians everywhere, we can bring an end to bullying!
I apologized, will you?
Click the photo above to redirect to All Bartenders, the original publisher of my review.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO THE BEST DAD EVER!
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Though lacking written content, this post is a visual representation of my love for my dad.
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I couldn’t have asked for a better dad, supporter, and comedian extraordinaire!
Below are some photos of me and my dad throughout the years (click to enlarge).
So, it’s National Best Friend Day today and I can’t help but think of how lucky I am to have my best friend in my life. Really, the reasons I’m going to list are the reasons why anyone should feel lucky to have their best friend(s) in their lives, among so many other things; they’re the foundation that keep our sometimes shaky lives well-grounded. These are give-and-take relationships that you wouldn’t change for the world. Some years back, my best friend Marta (pictured above) sent me a Buzzfeed article about your best friend being “Your Person”, a Grey’s Anatomy reference that I didn’t get (I’ve never watched the show), but have come to love, after reading the post. Since then, I’ve always called her my “Person” — my best friend soulmate.
And so, without further ado, how to know that friend of yours is YOUR person, your best friend:
1. They know what you’re feeling/thinking even if you won’t acknowledge it yourself.
The amount of times my best friend has called me out on things I wasn’t consciously aware that I was feeling or thinking about is actually astounding. She can sense my mood shifts before I can, and can discern every little insecurity or worry as if they were her own. Though I have a terrible habit of denying some things to myself, I always have to come to terms with it and admit it when Marta is around (which has never been a bad thing and ultimately, has always been in my best interest).
2. They’re the person you turn to when you don’t know where else to go.
It often seems that they can cope with your feelings better than you can. In all honesty, there is no one else that I feel more comfortable sobbing my eyes out in front of, probably because it’s not exactly a rare occurrence over the near decade my best friend and I have known each other. And 90% of those times, I’m actually sober. When all hope seems lost, I know that I can go to her at any time and she’ll be there for me, no matter what.
Like that time I called her at nearly midnight because I accidentally drove my mom’s car into a pole and bashed up the whole front right end and literally did not understand why my mom was so upset with me (yes, in hindsight, it makes sense — I probably should have waited for the foggy windshield to clear).
Or the (many) times I felt heartbroken and needed someone to talk to. Including the night my first boyfriend broke up with me, when the only place I wanted to go to was my best friend’s house to cry. That night, I knew that she was the only person who would have made me feel better, and she did.
3. They can always make you happy.
Even at my saddest times, she has always been able to get even a crack of a smile out of me. Of course, this not only applies to cases like those in point #2, but in all situations.
I really do not think there has ever been a point in our friendship where we’ve been together and one has not made the other smile. Whether it be clever puns (there have been times where I’ve literally crumpled to the floor in tears from laughing so hard), silly jabs at each other, or the simple question: “Want some baked brie and goat cheese?” She is constantly putting a smile on my face.
Someone who is your best friend should make you genuinely happy to be in their company, regardless of the situation. Even when our times together have been tinged by something negative going on in one or both of our lives, I have never experienced a time when I’m physically in her presence and do not feel happier.
See below for a gif representation of our reaction when the other asks if they want cheese and baguettes:
4. They’re your favourite drinking buddy.
I will always credit my love of gin and tonic to Marta. I remember the first time I tried it like it was yesterday. We were at Mr. Greenjeans in the Eaton Centre in October of 2013 (nearly a year before it closed down, after being in that location for 34 years), when the waitress told us there was a lunch special on gin cocktails. I stuck to Vodka-7, my go-to drink prior to that afternoon, but Marta ordered a gin and tonic. After tasting hers, there was no going back.
We’ve since had classier nights as well, not just day drinking hard liquor and opting instead to enjoy a glass of wine while watching Big Bang Theory or making soap. Still though, some of my favourite (and worst) moments in our friendship happened with some form of alcohol in hand. Kind of like a wide spectrum of emotions gin and wine have bestowed on us both.
5. Deep, philosophical conversations are second nature.
Some of my absolute favourite memories with Marta are the ones where we sat up until 6:00am talking about God and astronomy and quantum physics. About our futures and the meaning of life. We learned a lot about each other, as we were constantly teaching each other and learning from the conversations. One moment that stands out for some reason is when we were reading a book on Einstein’s various theories (which she had picked up from the library she was working at, at the time) and she was explaining to me this concept involving the interaction of movement/time/spacial location on a train that is moving forward on the tracks.
Really, it’s those little things that stand out in such a strong friendship.
6. You can admit your irrational thoughts to them.
There are so many stupid things that have come out of my mouth in front of Marta, and I have not once ever regretted it. In hindsight, I realize that a lot of my stupid comments have been in relation to guys, which is undoubtedly trying for someone as level-headed as my best friend. From my declaration (after a cousin of mine ruined all chances I ever had with dating this guy I had liked at the time), way back in the tenth grade: “I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF MEN — I’M GOING TO JOIN A CONVENT AND BECOME A NUN” (which sadly, I was 100% serious about). To trying in vain to convince her time and time again in high school that I was “legit in love. But for real this time”. To telling her after my first break up that I would never date anyone again.
Each and every time she has told me to get a grip, and each and every time she’s proved my self-detrimental attitude wrong. There are also times though, when I’ve said things that I felt were irrational, and she’s validated my feelings, making me feel better about them (e.g., when I felt several of my friends were toxic, and she helped me navigate my way through that while still remaining the bigger person. Which, God knows, I can get kind of petty sometimes).
Mandatory gif of Sheldon Cooper, whose character I am convinced is largely based off of Marta herself:
7. You feel comfortable being 100% yourself (and they can’t judge you, because they’re just the same).
In all honesty, I’d go into detail here about the ridiculous things we’ve said and done because of this immense level of mutual comfort, but I am going to save us both the public embarrassment.
However, I will say that there is no one I would rather judge and be judged by for a complete disregard of societal norms.
8. It’s perfectly fine to spend a night in, just watching movies, cooking, and chatting.
As I think I’ve made pretty clear, some of the best memories I have with Marta are the ones where we’re just chilling out and doing nothing particularly exciting. Over the years, I can’t count how many times we’ve hung out at home cooking up some concoction from Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, watching Julie Child cooking videos or Julie & Julia, or talking about food. We also do things other than worship the culinary goddess that is Julia Child, I swear. I just can’t think of any right now. 😉
9. Their family is like your second family.
I call her parents mom #2 and dad #2 (well, they’re Polish, so “mama #2” and “tata #2). Her brother is also like my brother. My dog, who hardly tolerates anyone outside of my family, will let Marta pet and love her… does this not mean that she is basically part of the family?
When you’ve been so close with someone for such a long period of time, they truly do become a second family to you. It’s amazing (and kind of hilarious, actually) how I can tell Mama #2 about anything that’s going on in my life and she’ll give her “Daughter #2” the same advice — sugar-coating free — that she’d give her biological daughter.
10. You would be absolutely lost without them.
Needless to say, I can’t imagine my life without my best friend in it. Even through disagreements or long periods of time apart, I have still felt that my life as a whole is a million times better because she’s in it. There is no one I would have preferred to guide me through the last near-decade of my life.
So, thank you to you Marta for being my best friend for nearly nine years and counting.
I couldn’t have asked for a better friend to get me through close to a decade of my life. Happy Best Friends Day to My Person. ♥
P.S. One more picture from prom, that time in May 2012 when Marta and I were basically each other’s dates (because who else was loyally there for each other over those years as much as we were?)
Soap making is by far one of my favourite DIYs, and is one that is easy to do both alone, or with a few people. My best friend and I make soap more frequently than we go through it, but it’s so addicting that it’s difficult to control ourselves. With the plethora of adorable moulds, pretty colours, glitters, and scents to choose from, the combinations are seemingly endless!
Though it is much quicker to use pre-made soaps, it’s a lot of fun to make the soaps 100% from scratch. I’ve been using the recipe on Soap Queen‘s blog, which is very direct and easily to follow (there are also a lot of other soap making ideas on her site, as well).
If using the pre-made soaps, such as the soap bases available at Michaels, you simply remove the soap from the container it comes in (it sometimes help to run hot water on the outside of the packaging, making sure the soap itself does not get wet. Once the soap is out, place it on a cutting board and begin chopping it up into cubes that are no larger than an inch wide.
With the cubes of soap, fill up a large microwave-safe measuring cup and then nuke it in the microwave starting at 40 seconds. If it doesn’t fully melt the soap, which is most likely will not, microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring the soap in between. When the soap has completely melted to a liquid state, you can add whatever soap dye and scents that you desire. I really love the sandalwood scent, which comes in a 6-scent kit I purchased from Michaels. I also bought all of my soap dyes from Michaels, and my glitter as well (which you would mix into your melted soap during this same step, if you so desire).
Once everything is mixed up in the still-melted soap mixture, you can begin pouring the soap into your moulds. I prefer using silicone ones, as they are infinitely easier to remove once the soap has hardened and fully set. If you choose to use the plastic ones, I’ve found that running warm water over the opposite side works best, though it’s kind of difficult to do so without water getting onto the soap itself.
When pouring your soap, you can also have fun with cool effects during this step. You can let the soap begin to set and then pour a line of a different colour down the middle; this would be an obvious design if you has a transparent soap base and pour an opaque one through, or more discreet if you use two differently coloured opaque soaps (until you cut it open, if you make the soap loafs. Soap loafs are made in moulds like the below picture). If you’re doing more dainty and small soaps in intricate moulds, you can layer colours in, say, the petals of a flower, the twists in a Celtic knot, etc. — it really all depends on your creative vision and which moulds that you have to work with. You can see the results of some of our most recent soaps below.
Once the soap is poured, set the moulds aside to somewhere where they will not be disturbed. Do not poke at them, or shift the mould itself, as it will create a rippled texture on the bottom of the soap (the result of it being only semi-set). I’d wait at least an hour before you attempt to touch the smaller soaps and closer to two hours for the soap loaves. Do not remove them from the moulds until they are cool to the touch. Removing them prematurely will sometimes cause them to warp and/or stick to the moulds because of the tackiness they take on prior to being fully hardened.
Once your soaps are done, feel free to wrap them up in colourful tissue paper or even scrapbook paper to give away to your friends and family! They make such cute gifts, and are perfect for the holidays. Because I have moulds for basically every single holiday there is, the people close to me are never quite surprised when they get themed soaps throughout the year. I make too many to possibly use on my own, so giving them away is always a nice option.
Do you enjoy soap making? If so, what are your tips and tricks to making the perfect soap? Let me know — as well as if you have any questions about the process — in the comments!
Several years ago, when I applied for my first ‘real’ job, the hiring manager was thankfully one of my dad’s close friends. After sending in my résumé and cover letter to him, he approached my dad and told him that he was going to pretend he never got my email… that’s how basic and lacking in professional standards the layout of my CV had been (which I had created about four years prior in my high school Careers class, and had simply been updating with new experience). He then sent me an example of a stellar résumé and cover letter, which turns out was written by someone who was the VP of one of our company’s vendors. I took that layout and ran with it, altering the bare minimum and adjusting both documents to reflect my own experience. Needless to say, after submitting my shiny new application, I got the job and continued to work there for two summers in a row.
That being said, in this tough job market, you have to start somewhere — namely, by selling yourself and your skills to your potential employer. In your CV, don’t forget to include:
As for your cover letter, you tweak the content of this letter to the skills that you possess, which are relevant to the job. Lately, I’ve been applying to marketing positions, so you can find a template to my marketing cover letter by clicking here. I’ve also applied to several jobs in the publishing industry, and that cover letter template can be found by clicking here. All you would have to do is alter my personal experience to reflect your own. You will also see from both my résumé and cover letter than I have a personal website, as well. This is essentially an online CV with all of my experience broken down and detailed, as well as links to the corporate websites of the companies I have worked for and any online work of mine that has been published. To see it all, you can visit (it’s a click-through link): www.EmilyMichelleFata.com. I have heard back from many potential employers that they loved my website and found it to be something that set me aside from other candidates. If something as small as a personal website can encourage an employer to give you an interview, I consider it to be a great investment.
And that’s really all there is to the application process! Make sure that you’re always presenting the best side of yourself — elaborate on your relevant experience and expansive skill set. Always state why YOU would be the best fit not only for the position, but for the company that you are applying to. Highlight how great of a candidate you are.
What are your thoughts on today’s job market and application processes? Let me know in the comments!
Click the photo above to redirect to All Bartenders, the original publisher of my review.
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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO MY #1!
Though lacking written content, this post is a visual representation of my appreciation for my mum.
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I couldn’t have asked for a better mom (and, as people seem to say, “twin”)!
Below are some photos of me and my favourite lady throughout the years (click to enlarge).