Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Lost Diamond Earrings - A True Story

My Beautiful Diamond Earrings
The Lost Diamond Earrings
By: Jenna Em

When I turned 18 years old, my mother gave me a special coming-of-age present: sparkling diamond stud earrings, and how beautiful they were! I wore them out only for special occasions, and kept them in a red velvet-lined jewellery box at all other times. Sometimes I would take out the diamond earrings to admire, holding them up to the sunlight spilling through my bedroom window. The studs would catch the light, twinkling, and casting dotted rainbows on the walls. 

Twenty years passed, and I still tended to my earrings with the utmost of care. Now a mother of young children, I was sure to keep the jewellery box out of the reach of their inquisitive fingers. When the kids were able to reach on top of my dresser to retrieve the box, I hid it beneath my bathroom sink. They would never find it hidden behind tall paper towel rolls and ornate perfume bottles.

As I showered one morning, while the kids played just outside of the tub, I noticed that the noise level was quiet, too quiet. If you’ve ever been the caregiver of a toddler, you will understand how low noise level can be tied into child mischief. As my kids were no exception to the rule, I flung back the shower curtain, only to find that they had removed all the products from underneath my bathroom sink: paper towel rolls, ornate perfume bottles, and my velvet-lined jewellery box!

I dried myself quickly, and gently admonished my toddlers for creating an unruly mess. I had almost returned the products back under the sink, when I realized that my jewellery box was ajar, and the contents spilled upon my ceramic bathroom floor. With great care, I plucked up my finery and placed it back into the box. All items seemed accounted for: my grandmother’s antique brooch, clasped necklaces with pendants, rings and bracelets fit for a queen, and matched pairs of dangly earrings—but my beautiful diamond earring studs were nowhere to be seen!
My Lost-Forever-Diamond-Earrings
Immediately, I organized a search party for the missing earrings! My husband and I got down on our hands and knees and scoured the floor, the court-around, and opened the air register in case the earrings had rolled inside. The floor was white, which made the task harder to locate silvery-white diamonds. No earrings.

Then it struck me: perhaps my toddlers had swallowed the diamonds and they could be working their way out! Even with my hawk eyes on the prize, no diamonds reemerged over the days to come. But I did not give up, and thought that perhaps the earrings were still camouflaged by the white, ceramic floor.

But my hopes were shattered, when my husband forget about the missing earrings later that week, and detailed the entire bathroom floor with the vacuum cleaner hose. My beautiful, beautiful diamond earrings were lost for good! I did not have the heart to tell my mother what had become of her heart-felt gift.

Another five years passed, and we were packing up our old home to move. The kids were considerably older and wiser, and by then I had recounted them the story of the lost-forever-diamond-earrings, which always ended with their dad accidentally vacuuming them up. 

As I packed up the contents of the washroom, I moved to the toiletries beneath the sink. This act took several hours, as the area was heavily packed with supplies and trinkets, and much sorting and discarding was necessary. I worked from left to right, and pulled out the velvet-lined jewellery box last; it would need to be packaged carefully.

I frowned beneath the sink, because it was dusty with small strips of paper and plastic strewn beneath. It would need to be sucked out with the vacuum hose before the new owners moved into the house. I turned on the suction, and started to quickly clean every hidden nook and cranny. When my hand brushed over a little something that rolled, I almost didn’t stop to investigate. I picked up that “something”, only to stare goggle-eyed at one of my lost-forever-diamond-earrings!

I started to shout: “Come quick!”, which got my kids and husband rapidly into the washroom. “I found one of the long lost diamond earrings! It has been under the sink all these years, and I almost sucked it up!”  Everyone cheered.

After I had shouted it, I realized that after all these years, the chances of finding the matching diamond stud earring was improbable. And if it had also been beneath the sink, I had likely already sucked it up. With a full vacuum bag, the odds seemed even worse.

My family and I combed underneath the sink, and turned up nothing. It seemed so close, and yet so far away, to have only recovered one diamond stud earring. One could only wear a pair, naturally. And then, in the dark cupboard, lodged tight in a wall crack, I found the diamond stud partner!

I smiled from ear to ear, and put on the earring set immediately. Then I called my mother to tell her the story; she had not realized that the earrings had been missing all these years.

Today the diamond earrings are still safe and sound, and I look forward to passing them on to my daughter one day. When I give them to her at that time, I’ll ask her if she remembers the story of The Lost Diamond Earrings, and ask her to tell the same story to her daughter--when she bequeaths them to her one day.

Have you ever lost something precious to you?  Did you ever retrieve it?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

(VIDEO) Bank of Montreal Performs Kind Deed for Shop Owner

There has been a wonderful movement in recent years, in which large companies go to great lengths to reward customer loyalty.  Frankly, I love watching the viral videos from companies like Lincoln Canada, Westjet, Telus and others who plan a great surprise for their valued customer.  Such videos give me goosebumps and leave me with a "feel good" sensation.  Okay, some even elicit a tear or two.

Watch the above video called "Arash's Day Off" from Bank of Montreal, who performs a kind deed for a sandwich shop owner Arash through their "Help Given" campaign.  The goal of which has been to demonstrate the bank's commitment they have to their customers, and that they're "there to help".  Frankly, I'd love to be the recipient of such a kind gesture!
Tears of Appreciation
Look at Arash's tears of appreciation, and how the BMO employee cries with him (in the video above).

Follow Bank of Montreal on Social Media:
Follow Hashtags #BMOdayoff and #HelpGiven, to join the conversation!

What do you think of these recent viral customer appreciation videos?  Which is your favourite video?  What do you think of BMO's customer appreciation gesture?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

My Running Story: Overcoming The Monster In My Mind

Stretching Before a Run
The year I turned 40, I rethought my life. After having had five back-to-back pregnancies, I had let myself become overweight and sedentary. My eating habits were poor, and my health was beginning to fail. I was a feeble example to my five young children, who were beginning to emulate me. I did not like what I had become.

On New Year’s Day 2013, I purged my home of all junk food, vowed to no longer eat take-out food, limited my intake of processed food, and monitored my portion size. I vowed to exercise for at least one hour daily. I stuck to my plan and lost 80 lbs and 5 clothing sizes. I had returned to my former high school size.

Soon afterwards, I felt powerful, and out of the blue decided to start running. This was a tall order for me, as I had never before run in my life—not even as a normal-weight child. Past attempts had left me winded, or with a stitch in my side. I put on my running shoes and psyched myself up, but could only make it to the end of my short street. I was breathing hard and could not push myself on. The pit of my stomach was sore, and my legs felt heavy.
Lacing Up 
I did not give up, and on the next try, I made it about one kilometer to my childrens’ school. I was red and winded, but felt so proud and accomplished! I kept up my attempts, until in just a few weeks, I was able to double my distance and make it all the way home from my run, without stopping mid-way. In short order, I had tripled my distance and was running for 30 minutes at a time.

My newfound success made me question what had held me back from running my whole life? For example, why could I do one hour on the elliptical trainer and treadmill at the gym, but not have enough stamina to complete one simple run? Why could I swim for one kilometer in the pool, but initially not run the same distance?

After some thought, I concluded that it was the monster in my mind that was telling what I could and could not do. It was the monster in my mind deciding if I could or could not succeed. To overcome this mentality on my runs, I would clear my mind and create simple rhymes or phrases to push myself onward and forward:

“I run, I run for fun. I run, I run for fun.” 

Cooling Down After The Run
The simple rhymes would block out my self-negativity, and help me keep rhythm. The rhymes would help me focus on my forward motion, and ignore my too-heavy limbs, hot body, dry throat and chapped lips.

“Up up, going up. Up up, I am up.”

On paper, they look like Seussisms, but these simple words encouraged me up and over a menacing hill during a run. They also distracted me, and helped me ignore the monster in my mind.

“Home home, going home. Home home, almost home.”

And these words reminded me that my goal was in sight: home, and gave me the inspiration to continue running without stopping short and disappointing myself.

Unlaced After the Run
After I had successfully completed several runs, I was delighted that my 9-year old son had shown an interest in running with me. I told him that yes, he could accompany me on some runs—and he loved it! Then my 6-year old son also caught the running bug:

“I run, I run with mom. It is fun, to run with mom.”

Now running truly is a family affair, and there is no room to bring along the monster in my mind.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Kid's Spring Athletic Programmes at TAC Sports!

Having Fun With TAC Sports!
Now that the warmer weather is finally here, it's time to get the kids out of the house and active! TAC Sports offers great spring programmes, such as academy soccer, tennis and basketball development to kids in Toronto and the GTA.  I wrote about TAC Sports March Break camps last month.  

TAC Sports strives to build life skills, sports skills, self-confidence and positive self-image in all their students.  They ensure that the kids are safe, active and have fun in their sessions.  TAC Sports also believes that keeping kids interested from an early age (3.5 years old), is the key to keeping them enthusiastic about sports throughout their lifetimes.  TAC Sports also maintains a low student-to-instructor ratio, for maximum attention and a greater level of coaching.

Tennis Development (Ages 4-12 years) - Adventure Valley, Thornhill - Tuesdays or Saturdays starting May 2015
Tennis Development (Adults) - Adventure Valley, Thornhill - Tuesdays or Saturdays starting May 2015
Soccer House League - (Ages 6-8 & 9-11) - Adventure Valley, Thornhill, Saturdays starting May 2015
Soccer Prep Academy - (Ages 7-12 years) - Forest Hill Public School, Toronto - Wednesdays starting March 2015
Soccer Development - (Ages 4-12 years) Adventure Valley, Thornhill, Saturdays starting May 2015
Junior Basketball Development - (Ages 4-12 years) Junior Academy Gym, Toronto - Saturdays starting May 2015

TAC Sports Offers Tennis, Soccer & Basketball Spring Programmes

TAC Sports also offers Toronto Athetic Camps at 4 different Toronto and GTA locations across the city.  Check them out!  
More Information About TAC Sports Camps:
TAC Sports on Twitter
TAC Sports on Facebook
TAC Sports Website

E-mail TAC Sports:
Phone TAC Sports: 416-627-1092

Register for TAC Sports Spring Programmes Now!

What programmes do you get your kids or grandkids involved in in the spring? Have you ever considered an athletic programme like TAC Sports for them?

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Designer Shoe Sale On NOW Through April 6th! Open Easter Long Weekend!

My Designer Shoe Shopping Basket!
Today (April 2nd), I went to my very first Designer Shoe Warehouse Sale at International Centre in Mississauga.  I arrived close to opening, and yet walked into a building that was already filled with hundreds of women eagerly shopping!  They advertise 30,000 pairs of new, current shoes at 50% to 80% off, and carry sizes 5 to 11.  The sale is on until Monday April 6th, and is open every day through the Easter long weekend.  If you are within a reasonable driving distance, you should really check it out!  
Rows and Rows of Designer Shoes
Some of the brands that Designer Shoe Warehouse Sale carries include Vince Camuto (I bought 2 great pairs!), Sam Edelman, Naturalizer, Franco Sarto, Fergie, Jessica Simpson, BCBGeneration, Lucky Brand, Dr. Scholl's and more.  I also noticed that they carry a large selection of women's and men's handbags.
A Peek at the Shoes
I love that all the shoes are all sorted together by size, so I simply browsed in my section.  Above are some of the shoes that I spied (which also include some that I purchased)!  I just loaded up my shopping basket, tried on my favourite shoes, and checked out!
Load Up Your Basket & Check Out!
What I found interesting, was how many people checking out at Designer Shoe Warehouse Sale had full baskets of shoes.  Some people even had buggies full!  There was a load of gorgeous shoes at the sale.
Vist the Designer Shoe Warehouse Sale
Open This Easter Long Weekend!
Follow Designer Shoe Warehouse Sale on Social Media!
Facebook: Designer Shoe Sale by PetiteFeet
Twitter: @ShoeBlowoutSale
Instagram: DesignerShoeSale

Could you use some beautiful, new, designer shoes?  Would you love to check out the Designer Shoe Warehouse Sale this long weekend?
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