TLC Travel Diary – Week 1 – Barcelona

Wow….we can’t believe a week has gone by already!  Mind you, despite the fact that the time has flown, at the same time it feels like we have been around the world and back and seen every corner of it on the way!   

TLC in Barcelona 1997

 

TLC in Barcelona 2010

 

The journey started in Barcelona where the memories began to flood back as soon as we stepped out of our cab.  We retraced our steps from when we used to spend our Saturdays doing day-to-day things like grocery shopping and laundry, to strolling Las Ramblas, admiring Gaudi masterpieces, and of course stopping to enjoy authentic paella and sangria.    

HappyHourBarcelona

 

Mom and Dad loved it too, and we didn’t stop wandering the city from when we met them in the morning to when we fell into bed late that night.  Our hotel was right on Las Ramblas, and we people-watched from our balcony overlooking the famous promenade for hours.  Bliss.   

Barcelona - Colom

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TLC Travel Diary – Day 1

We’re off! 

       

Some people absolutely hate travelling. Not the actual vacation part, but the travel part. We, on the other hand, really love it. The airports, the magazines, the airplane food, the movies, the crosswords – you name it. We try to make the “transportation” portion of the journey part of the holiday, and make the most of every minute. Admittedly though, it wasn’t always like this, it’s just that over the years of living with no fixed address other than a passport we learned a few tricks of the trade to make the travel more fun.  

 

 One of our favourite “TLC Travel Tips”, is to pull our best “Ferris Beuller” a la “Abe Froman – the Sausage King of Chicago”:  We always try to schedule enough time in between flights to visit the posh VIP lounges even though we totally don’t belong there. Truth is though, you don’t have to be a “member” – you can pay per person to enter just for the one day, and then you get R&R with all the trimmings. The price is totally worth it. Wine, beer, full open liquor bar, full internet access, all-you-can-eat buffet – you name it! Think about it, you’re probably going to pay for an overpriced lunch, a couple of overpriced magazines, and an overpriced venti-latte-something-or-other….why not pay all-in-one and get it with peace & quiet and a glass of wine to boot?   

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SYTYCD Canada Season 3 – The Good, the Bad, and the We’ll See.

Apologies to all – this post is waaaay late.  We have a couple of good reasons, but mostly it’s because we have been completely neglecting our PVR due to the fact that we’ve been feverishly renovating the church where we rent our dance space.  We’ve been working overtime trying to get it done before we leave on vacation (now) so that meant it was during our “off ” hours (after teaching, after practice, after the show – basically in place of social life, sleeping, posting, and such.)   The hard work has been a success though – in one month we put in a new dance floor, painted the whole space, threw in a bit of decor, set up a  mini-office, and put some admin features in place.  All by our-covered-in-paint-head-to-toe-selves.  Yes, me (TL) too, and I even wore sweatpants.  Albeit with high heels… of course.  Baby steps, friends, baby steps….

(btw – pics and vid documenting the creation of “The Church of Dance” to follow – watch this space!)

Regardless, while we were busy being a Worst Handyman and Woman,  a new season of SYTYCD Canada started, so we have to take a moment to pause, reflect, and celebrate!  Congrats on Season 3 to all involved!

This season has started off with a bang, and we believe it has some good, some bad, and some that is too early yet to comment on.  Nevertheless, below are our thoughts, but remember – they are just personal opinions!  If yours differ, that’s the beauty of being Canadian!  It’s perfectly ok to disagree!

The Good:

– Jean Marc is finally being…Jean Marc.  We have known and respected this unbelievably talented man for many, many years, and one of the best things about him is…him.  The “real-life Jean Marc” is incredibly funny, caring, and sincere, but in the most natural way.  The TV one seemed to be going through a bit of an adjustment period in Season 1 & 2, but it seems he has found his comfort zone.  Also, seeing his beautiful wife France on with him was delightful!  Loved it!  They are a true team in every way, so it was nice to enjoy them working as one on the show.

– The production value.  The editing, the sets, the camera work, lighting, directing…man, that franchise gets it right!  Just gorgeous.  Enough said.

– Love Mia.  Love Stacey.  Love Dan.  Love Blake.  They really seem “unafraid” to tell the truth and give critique, and we like that.  Even Luther has been a bit tougher this season – good to see.  Tre is just plain gorgeous.  What on earth does she use on her skin?  And can I order a vat of it?

– We only fast-forwarded Leah when she was visible.  We think her voice-overs are way better than they were in Season 1 and 2.  If she would stop flicking her head with every second syllable we could perhaps fast-forward even less.  (Maybe we should have put that in the “we’ll see” category.)

– “LazyLegz” .   You made our month.  We hope to meet you someday and give you a really long, good, snuggly hug.

– Looks like we’ll have some amazing and uber-talented dancers to enjoy this season!  Yay, Canada!

The Bad:

– Even though we think it’s “better”, the critique is still a bit too “nice” for us.   By all means, tell the dancers what they did right, but then tell them what they did wrong, or what they should work on for next time.  Yes, as we said, the talent is exceptional, but everyone can work to improve on something, so we wish the judges would say so more often. 

– “Made for TV” stuff.  Maybe it’s because we work in TV, but to us it’s so transparent when phrases are edited and we don’t see the real thing.  Trust us – TV – even “Reality” TV – isn’t real at times.  Yuck.  Maybe that’s why the judges’ comments come out too reserved?  Maybe they said “more” but we just don’t get to see it as viewers?  But this leads us to……

The “We’ll See”:

– It’s too early to comment on the dancers themselves, as it takes a few weeks for them to find their groove and really let loose.  Dancing in front of millions must be the most daunting thing imaginable, so we think it’s only fair not to comment on specific performances until they’ve had a bit of time to relax and just enjoy their time in the limelight!  Enjoy and good luck to all competitors!  Great job so far! 

Please, Canada – support this show!  Help celebrate the Arts in Canada!!!

….and that’s today’s TLC.

ps – what are your thoughts of SYTYCD Canada Season 3 so far?

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You Only Live Once. Cross Something Off Your “Bucket List” today.

N.B. – still counting votes from the previous post regarding capital letters – hundreds have read, not many voted, but nevertheless results are pretty split down the middle – so this will be a test-capital-letter-blog.   Feel free to go back to the poll and vote if this influences you!  🙂  But first….today’s blog: 

Due to the fact that we are professional Gypsies, and to the admission in a previous post that we try our best to “Work to Live” not “Live to Work”, you may have already figured out that we really try to cross things off of our “Bucket List” as often as we can.  We are acutely aware that “we only live once”, and don’t want to miss a thing while we’re here,  so we are constantly working on making the next dream come true.   We are proud to report that we are crossing another item off the “Bucket List” this week, but even happier to report that it’s not on our list…it’s on my parents’. 

 

The most magical part of our life so far was when we worked in the Mediterranean.  We loved every minute of it.  We miss it.  We have always said that if we won the lottery, we would immediately board a plane back to the Med, buy a place there, and spend the rest of our lives sharing its beauty with any friends and family that wanted to visit us.  (Mark our words – that WILL still happen – lottery or not!)  

Portofino, Italy

It turned out that our love was infectious, because as we went on and on about it, my Mom and Dad declared that “some day” they would love to experience it.  We immediately promised that when they were ready to go, we would go with them, and be their tour guides to help them experience “the best of the Med”.   That was 14 years ago.  Yes, you read that right.  And we’re not proud of it.  Neither us nor my parents.  For 14 years we all let day-to-day life and work get in the way, said “maybe next year” over and over, went about crossing other things off our bucket lists, and before we knew it, 14 years had gone by.  Then something happened.  This year, suddenly in April, Chris lost his Mom.  

 

We miss her.  There are many things we so badly wanted to experience with her.  We didn’t get the chance.  This week, we are taking my Mom and Dad to the Med.  And Chris’s Mom too.

Posted in Life with TLC | 10 Comments

Queries, Kudos, AND CAPITALS of a Big Blog World…

…so…when we decided to jump into the blogosphere, we decided to do so as we do everything else in life – head first.   we had no idea how deep it was, or the size of the world we were to swim around in, but we were excited to explore.  and we can report after a very short period of time that it is in fact – a Big Blog World full of queries, kudos, and CAPITALS.  

first – the queries.  

there are a lot of them!   from the first day you feel like you are back in grade 2 and faced with math class for the first time, and you have 10+ more years of learning to go before you’ve even scratched the surface of what you need to know.   some we have been faced with so far:  blogspot or wordpress? should we self-host? do we need a domain name? how do we tag? why do we need categories?  how do we connect social media? do we need twitter? a fan page? what are links for?  multi-media? how many kinds ARE there?  AAARRRGHH!  and the list goes on for 10+ more years.  (fyi – what have found some answers, and are happy to share and save you the time – message us if you have some!)

second – the kudos.

this is a shout-out to all of the great friends that have helped us to answer the above questions, either by answering them directly, or, without even knowing, because we have visited their great blogs to see how great bloggers do it right (the links provide “blog-love” – which is one of the thing’s we’ve learned about):  Ginger of three65, Chris of Nachos at Midnight, Keltie of HighKicksandHighHopes, Andrew of PhotoVanBeek, Rosie O’Donnell, Rod Fage of OSG Consulting, the feedback and opinions of: Amrita, Derick,  Lannan, our beloved students, everyone-else-that-we-should-be-thanking-but-is-going-to-come-to-mind-after-we-publish-this-post, and of course – our latest best friend:  Google.

third – THE CAPITALS.

this is to represent the questions that will be posed to you as you “put yourself out there” into the blogosphere, and it’s interesting to learn what people will ponder as they read.  this is my favourite one so far: “why don’t you use capital letters in your blog?”   great question.   and really, i’m not that sure of the answer because it just kind of happened, but i thinks it’s mostly about “tone”.   this blog is meant to be very informal, laid-back, and more of a behind-the-scenes of life and our thoughts than anything “official”.   capital letters, to me, make things more official and important, which is why i still capitalize proper nouns.  they can also CHANGE THE TONE, AS YOU SEE HERE, ALL OF A SUDDEN I SEEM TO WANT YOUR ATTENTION.    so, i decided not to use them.  BUT (note the emphasis),  we are really open to learning and making it the best blog it can be, and, we strongly encourage interaction……so….let’s find out what you the readers would prefer: 

now…if i could only figure out how to change the font.  sigh. back to google.

and that’s today’s TLC.

ps….who deserves your kudos today?

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All We Hear Is…Radio Cha-Cha…

Neil & Steve from EZ Breakfast Show

 …so yesterday i had the amazing opportunity of guest co-hosting on the EZ Breakfast Show on EZ Rock 99.7 .    this was my first-ever attempt at radio, and let me tell you, it’s a lot harder than it looks … i mean…”sounds”.    it was the most scared and nervous i have been for anything in a really long time, and there is SO much going on behind-the-scenes at any given moment you wouldn’t believe it!  

i think we all picture the hosts of radio morning shows to be sitting around, feet up, chillin’ over a cup of java and shooting the sh*t.   but, that’s the beauty of when it’s done well,  it seems like that’s what’s happening, but in reality,  there are a million things happening at once,  and all the while they’re cool as cucumbers.     i was so impressed with how smoothly Neil and Steve zipped in and out of breaks, weather, traffic, news, callers, and of course music – while at the same time making sure the rookie (me) didn’t push any wrong buttons or speak at the wrong times (thankfully they really helped me with this one, and chris wants to know where he can find a “mute” button like the one they had for me).   it was an incredible learning experience to say the least, and i have such genuine newfound respect for the job they do  (not to mention how bloody early they have to get up every day – oy vey).   they made it look so easy (excuse the pun),  and it was a really fun way to spend the morning!  i need to try it about 845, 672 more times in order to really get the hang of it, but the first time is always the hardest so at least it could only get better, right!

Neil and Steve,  special thanks for your patience, for making me feel so welcome, and for helping me cross something off my bucket list.   and to their awesome co-host Viv, thanks for letting me keep your chair warm for a day while you were away!   someday i’ll teach you ALL a cha-cha in return! 

here’s a sneak peek behind-the-scenes:  (thanks, chris for taking all the pics and video!  xoxoxo….)

and that’s today’s TLC.

ps – what will you do today that scares you?

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Do You “Work to Live”…or “Live to Work”?

one of our favourite sayings of all time was given to us by a lovely lady that we met while working in the South of France.  we were chatting one day about how calm, relaxed, and happy the European people are, and she said to us, “that’s because in Europe, we work to live….but in North America, you live to work.”

wow.  bang on, isn’t it? 

this comment really resonated with us, and we try to remind ourselves of it as often as we can,  especially when it feels like work is taking over everything.  and boy, doesn’t that seem to happen to all of us way too often?  if i asked you what your “top priority” is, what would you say?  health?  happiness? family?  friends?  your children?  of course!  these are the things that make life worth living.  but if i asked you what drains most of the energy out of your life what would it be?  too often the answer is work.

now, the thing is, unless you are the latest lotto max winner, or are the direct descendent of a founder of a very large and successful hotel chain, we have to work.  the formula is simple:  work = the money we need to live and enjoy the things in life.  but at what point do we pass the point of working to live, and end up living to work?  how much is enough? 

recently we were faced with this issue in our career.  after years of living the gypsy life, i was offered the opportunity coveted by so many: the full-time job.  it had all the trimmings – a bit more money, 40 hours a week, security, benefits.  so…we went for it.  after all, it’s what everyone strives for, so it must be the best way, right?  we’d be crazy to pass it up, right?  well, it turns out that depends on what’s really important to you.

it didn’t take long before chris and i were working all hours of the day, at completely opposite times, never seeing each other.  and when we did, we were so exhausted that we didn’t feel like doing any of those things that the extra money was supposed to allow for.  as a matter of fact, we didn’t have any time for them anyway.  we were rarely seeing our family or friends.  we were living to work, not working to live.

so, you can probably guess that after a very deep look into our life and realizing what was really important to us, we decided to do what some may think is crazy, and give a bit of it up.  we decided to cut a few corners here and there to make up for the financial shortfall,  and just work to live.  don’t get me wrong,  if Kelly Ripa mysteriously slips on some marbles and falls down the stairs, and Michael Gelman calls for me to rush in and take her place, that would still be great!  but if that doesn’t happen, that’s ok too.  the most important thing will be that if he does call, we have great friends, great family, and each other to share the news with. 

….and that’s todays bit of TLC.

ps – do you work to live, or live to work?

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