Happy Birthday Meg!

Well, the wonderful week of birthdays on in a nutshell continues. Today, our dear Mother Hen Meghan Brown, turns 24 years-old – and we couldn’t be prouder!

After a year of incredible accomplishments (finishing her Master’s, traveling, moving up in her full-time job, to name a few), Meghan deserves nothing more than praise and celebration. We can all recall her nose to the grind (rightfully so) during a trying handful of years that balanced both school, work and play – and how relieving it was for her to graduate with flying colours, slightly kick her feet up after decades of studying, spend time with her hobbies and plan the next step. Meghan has always been independent, brave and destined to accomplish so much; traits that make it an undoubted fact she’ll go far in what she does.

On top of all that? She’s never forgotten to be a terrific friend. We call her Mother Goose/Hen for obvious reasons; she values her friendships and relationships, puts time and effort into each of them and always looks out for others in times of need – with caring advice, a shoulder to wimper on and a witty joke to pick you up. Also, she’s the angel who cuts her night short to take care of a best friend, quietly slipping her into a chic pajama maxi-dress before tucking her into bed with watchful eyes. For all of the above – we thank you, Egg! Have a beautiful birthday – here are some of the special things your birthday party would call for…

On the meal, KATE says…

Even though our birthday girl knows how to turn on her inner diva, when it comes to good grub, sweet and simple keeps Meggo happy. She’s a lady who knows what she wants, knows how to get it and when it comes to the dinner table, it’s no different. Meghan tends to opt for tried and true classics, and although she is up for almost any new culinary adventure, she usually manages to find something on the menu that will keep her happy. Aside from her frequent visits to sushi houses, Meghan has a few  classic go-tos. Calamari is a must. A beautifully marinated steak with grilled tiger shrimp is a definite, usually with a side of truffled potatoes and al dente greens. For dessert, steer clear from chocolate, that is one thing that Meghan simply detests. Instead you can expect her to enjoy a delicate creme Brule.

On the drinks, CAT says…

Remember the time Meghan signed a hefty visa tab “I like to party”? I sure do. Meghan may have a 9 – 5 government job, enjoy the occasional night in with her cat or a rerun or two of Grey’s Anatomy, but that’s only one side of this (sometimes) wild girl. Give her an excuse and she’s the first one at the bar yelling “SHOTS!” While the Ottawa contingency of nuts will make sure there’s many of those accompanying our night out this evening, we also know that Meg often opts for the casual bevy. Our girly and traditional pal likes sticking to the classics, and who can resist a Strawberry Daiquiri? Tried, tested and true, this drink is one of Meggo’s faves for a night out with the gals. When it comes to dinner and a nice glass of wine Pinot Grigio is definitely where her finger lands on the wine list. I’ll never forget the first time she brought the cool Voga wine bottle to one of our potluck’s. A conversation piece and delicious vino in one. Again, for post meal drinks Meg heads for a classic. She won’t want to try anything with egg whites in it, too much garnish or squid ink – to that she’d say “I’d pay to know what that is.” No, Meg, like our idol Carrie Bradshaw, would be perfectly happy with a Cosmo. Simple and perfect. Finally, for her late night go-to she’ll order a Jaeger Bomb (or six). Just enough kick to get the party started and smooth enough to go down without any chase. We may not line 19 of these up, like we did on her 19th birthday, but you can bet there’s a j-bomb or two in Meghan’s near future.

On the music, JESS says…

You can’t nail this birthday girl’s music taste down – and I mean that in a very good way. As a singer with a trained melodic ear, Meg appreciates pretty notes, thoughtful lyrics and big uplifting anthems just as much as the next gal (if not more). That being said, that eclectic taste, ranging from romantic sounds to dance floor classics, has never excluded one of her greatest loves: a bumping beat. Her keen ear for all things hip-hop and R&B, which was most likely fostered in her early days as a dancer, often leaves Meg rapidly rhyming her pants off in the middle of a party – her quick tongue flying along with the catchy verses and fan favourites. Meg feels music, so whether it’s Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” echoing across a pub, Coldplay flying through the open windows of a roadtripping vehicle or “99 Problems” beating down on a dance floor, she’ll make sure everyone listens up and pays attention to the joyful jams. Some of my favourite moments with Eggo are cued by the opening beat of an old-school hip-hop classic, a motionless stare and smirk at each other and a loving rap battle. Now that’s friendship.

1. Theory of Relativity – Stars (new!) 2. Ignition – R. Kelly 3. No Church In The Wild – Jay-Z and Kanye 4. Beez in the Trap – Nicki Minaj 5. Juicy – Notorious BIG 6. Drop it Like Its Hot – Snoop-a-Loop 7. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You – Lauryn Hill 8. We’ve Got It Goin’ On – Backstreet Boys 9. Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve 9. Lemme See – Usher 10. Title and Registration – Death Cab For Cutie

On the outfit, KAYLEE says…

Meghan is lucky enough to have been born with the best accessory one could dream of: gorgeous piercing blue eyes. For this reason alone, her birthday dress should be a bright cerulean to make every guest a little more jealous of her coveted feature (ahem, brown eyed girl currently typing). A statement silver necklace and her signature pearl studs make the look birthday ready, and a neutral clutch with touches of colour, ties it all together with a perfect birthday bow. Now, the shoes. You may have noticed that these babies are none other than Jimmy Choo…but it is my belief that we all (most especially Meg) deserve a little spoiling on our special days, and these cream coloured, tiny wedge, classic sandals are just the ticket for each of Meg’s 24th year celebrations. As Meg’s style evolves with each life change she embarks on, I am thrilled to see her take risks with fashion; wearing bold patterns, unique accessories, and always staying true to her classic style and fun-loving self.

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Happy Birthday Kaylee!

Today, one of our own is celebrating her 24th Birthday! Kaylee is not only a fantastic writer and our fashion guru, but also is one of the main reasons that inanutshell has been so successful over the past year and a half. Her input behind the scenes, whether it be organizing our meetings and taking care of all the technical details, shows how well-rounded this talented gal really is. Over the past year, we’ve watched Kaylee’s life change drastically; moving to a new city and starting a new career in a demanding field in which we’ve already seen her succeed. The wonderful thing about Kaylee is that she always handles the twists and turns of life with such grace, it often makes us wonder how she’s doing it so effortlessly. She is also a loyal and loving friend who we can always count on and she never misses a chance to spend time with those that she loves, even if it means spending most of her weekends commuting between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. As the last member to join our close-knit little group, we’re so thankful that the fates (and a shot of tequila) would bring us Kaylee’s friendship, a gift that will forever be unmatched. Happy Birthday!

This weekend, Kaylee’s man & large circle of friends in Toronto are throwing her a huge soirée to celebrate her 24th. While distance and circumstance might not allow all of the nuts to celebrate together this year, if we could throw her the perfect party, here’s what we’d do…

On the OUTFIT, Jess says…

Although this will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone – Kaylee’s fashion sense is exquisite. Without ever looking ostentatious or heavily premeditated, our dear fashionista exudes natural style in every kind of outfit; her own unique flavour of bohemian chic that doesn’t discriminate from either a colourful floral print or elegant black dress with timeless accessories. Whether wearing distressed jeans, leather sandals and a slouchy t-shirt underneath earthy gems and classic Ray Bans around the city or pairing a simple skirt and shirt combination with a statement necklace, wavy hair tucked up above green-rimmed eyelids and a pair of fierce heels for Saturday night cocktails – she always looks effortless, perfectly feminine, and stunning. Kaylee certainly fields the “What kind of thing are you wearing tonight?” question the most from her friends – and her typical breezy answer, before rocking a show stopping number?  “Not sure! Haven’t thought about it yet.”

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

On the FOOD, Kate says…

Although Kaylee is our fashion forward and style savvy nut, she is also an experienced diner who appreciates great food and wine. Being raised by two beautiful, culturally aware people, Kaylee was one of those children who never shied away from an exotic meal and those early culinary experiences have led her to become a woman who enjoys the finer side of dining (sprinkled with a dash of the esoteric). She is always on  the hunt for the up and coming dining spots and in a short time of living in the big smoke, she quickly gained a handle on the pulse of the Toronto food scene. Any birthday menu for our lovely birthday girl must include a round of oysters served with lemon and horse radish: one of Kaylee’s dinnertime favourites. Followed by something nutritious yet hearty, like a quinoa, ground beef lettuce roll (beef larb) and polished off with a prime veal and risotto main course. Of course a little something sweet, like truffles and premium scotch liqueur, is the perfect way to send our precious birthday girl on her way with a full tum and smile on face.

On the DRINKS, Meghan says…

If you’ve ever visited Kaylee’s home in Montreal, you’d know that upon arrival, you’d be swiftly guided into the kitchen and handed a drink. While she may be inhabitting a different city, her love for a good cocktail hasn’t changed. One of her favourites is the Caesar, without too much spice. While this girl may be wild in some ways (aka impromptu Beyoncé performances in the middle of a party), when it comes to caesars, it’s mild all the way. With dinner, wine is a must! Not one to enjoy anything too fruity, Kaylee usually turns to a rich Chardonnay to accompany her meal, much like J. Lohr’s delicious variety, one that was always on hand during various celebrations in Montreal. For later on, Kaylee would definitely switch to a classic coctail: vodka soda, with a slice of lime. And, even though she “secretly” hates it, a good old fashioned shot of tequila is mandatory at this Birthday bash. While it may send her over the edge, I’d still pick Patron; a classy tequila for a classy girl!

On the MUSIC, Cat says…

You won’t find Kaylee gyrating to trance music or being the first in line to buy tickets for a dub step concert. No, you’ll find her secretly putting on her favourite Beyoncé song, standing on a chair, in the middle of a bustling party and singing out strong soulful lyrics, with just as much sass as the diva she idolizes. Or maybe, you’ll see her commandeering a night out, grabbing a mic, her main squeeze and everyone’s attention with a rousing karaoke routine to The Hip’s Bobcaygeon or The Dixie Chicks’ Traveling Soldier. While cruising in the car, it’s more mellow tunes she’ll groove to, from leading ladies like Norah Jones or Florence and the Machine. But, perhaps her most poignant music moments are when she tears up listening to her talented (and soon to be famous) best friend belt out lyrics from a Broadway musical. Or having her shoulder slumped around her seven besties screaming old Spice Girls jams, for old time’s sake. Or standing on the table tops of her family home, leading the pack in old Grease and Dirty Dancing favourites. Yes, her taste is eclectic, her style is impeccable and her ear is well tuned, but it’s her heart that forms the beat to the soundtrack of her wonderful life.

 

Celebrating Kaylee’s Birthday in 2010, with her girls from MTL & Ottawa <3

Five Friends…

Five nuts in January 2010

TGIF, nuts! As you’ll note from our “About Us” section – us five gals are very rarely in the same vicinity, which is one of the most wonderful perks of having this blog. It rounds us together when highways, commitments and life’s funny complications make it difficult to do so otherwise, sometimes for months at a time.

Have you heard about the project below? If you have two, five or seven best friends – it sounds like it would be such a neat idea. Similar to how the five of us will someday look back at (while still writing for it, of course) in a nutshell‘s archived posts to reminisce and laugh at the observations we made during this very transient and amusing period of our young adult lives – these guys chose to do so by taking the same goofy photo, at the same place, over the course of 30 years.

Think you’d try it? If you already have, send them to us – we’d love to see and hear your story!

Check this out: Five Friends Take The Same Group Photo for 30 years

Happy Birthday Kate!

This past weekend, the ladies of inanutshell were lucky enough to all be in the same city. A rare occasion, as we all lead hectic lifestyles, our paths crossed for a very special event: Kate’s Birthday. Not only a wonderful writer, who we’re so lucky to have as a member of this blog, Kate’s passion for food and wine has only deepened over the past year and it has been such a pleasure to watch her flourish in her element. We’ve watched her excel in her work at one of Ottawa’s top restaurants and succeed in her studies to become a Sommelier. Furthermore, Kate is fiercely loyal, passionate and hilarious. Whether you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to chase adventure with, she’s always willing to step in or step up. Her dedication to her loved ones is unmatched and we’re so grateful to call her our friend. Happy Birthday to our little Lalu, we can’t wait to see what wonderful things your 24th year brings you.

While we had an all-day, all-night celebration on Saturday, here’s what we would do if we could throw her the ultimate Birthday soiree…

On the OUTFIT, Kaylee says…

Kate is a definition fashionista. She loves getting dressed up, and always looks fabulous from head-to-toe. She’s known for her affinity to Club Monaco, her sky-high wedges, and those perfectly curled brown locks. Of all us nuts, she takes the most risks when it comes to style, and they always pay off. Lace short shorts, cropped tanks, silk blouses, antique rings, and lust-worthy statement necklaces are among her go-to pieces, but she’s always on the cutting edge, being the first to rock a floral romper or tie her top in a knot paired with a high-waisted skirt. The lovely birthday girl can teach us all a lesson in risk-taking, blending trends old and new and continually redefining personal style.

(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

On the FOOD, Cat says…

While Kate has many talents and interests, one of her greatest passions is definitely food. Whether it’s by pointing us to a delicious dish, through her informative restaurant reviews or simply being lucky enough to tag along as her dinner companion, our resident foodie has taught us all a thing or two about pleasing the palate. After many years in the food industry Kate knows what she likes but is always more than willing to be adventurous at mealtime, diving into the untraditional or the exotic. That’s why for her birthday food board we chose a mix of some of her staple favourites and some menu items that would make the average diner say … “What IS that?” Paired with some fine wines, delicious cocktails and post-dinner shots (of tequila), a memorable meal is the key to this birthday girl’s heart.

On the drinks, MEGHAN says…

Kate is definitely our wine connoisseur and for her Birthday, she deserves nothing less than a variety of wines to choose from. Cue two whites (Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Pillitterie Estates Gewürztraminer Riesling) and two reds (Kim Crawford Pinot Noir and Pirramimma Petit Verdot) that Kate has raved about in the past, along with a high-end bottle of bubbles, like Veuve Cliquot. Nothing but the best for this jem! Aside from wine, Kate often turns to a classic Old Fashioned cocktail (à la Don Draper) with plenty of muddled fruit to start off the evening. And to finish everything off? A Spanish coffee. Perfection.

On the music, JESS says…

Most random playlist ever? I prefer to think of it as eclectic – something that Kate is in every way. As you’ll read in her food and restaurant reviews and tales of traveling, Kate is one of the most open-minded and free-spirited girls I know – always willing to try something once and never one to deprive her senses of anew experience. Kate has incredible taste in music – both new and old – so I thought the birthday girl deserved a well-rounded, upbeat playlist with plenty of genre samples that are for the most part brand spankin’ new.  A little variety, excitement and groove for the fabulously outgoing girl who will always try something new on the menu of life.

1. Dull to Pause – The Junior Boys 2. New God Flow – Kanye West feat.Pusha T 3. Gaucho  Dave Matthews 4. Pyramids – Frank Ocean 5.Flutes – Hot Chip 6. One Love to Another – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros 7. Words in the Fire – Patrick Watson 8. 1904 – Tallest Man on Earth 9.Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey 10.Wildest Moments – Jessie Ware 11.The Keepers – Santigold feat. The Knocks 12.Heaven – The Walkmen

Celebrating Kate’s Birthday at HOPE Volleyball Summerfest with the nuts and some lovely ladies!

 

Happy Birthday Cat! Welcome to your party…

Her dream.

Today, our little kitty Cat, Cat Paw, Miz Catherine Boo, Catty Boo, Catherine J. Kitts, Catlink…turns 24. We couldn’t be prouder of our “Boo” as she approaches the mid-twenties mark; she’s grown into a tremendous woman who constantly proves her capabilities as a hard-working journalist and dedicated blogger, while not letting her passion for embracing life and all of its wonders ever slip by the wayside. One year after celebrating hers as the first nutshell birthday – deadlines and due dates have still not deterred our dear friend from doing what she loves, remaining a romantic, sticking by us through thick and thin and continuing to amaze us with her determination and strength. Keep up the wonderful work, Cat – we love you!

And although we know she’s had quite a few celebrations this past weekend – in light of her special day, we thought we would share with our readers how her four best friends/fellow nuts would choose to throw a party for the wild birthday girl.

So how does one throw a party for a party nut? Here’s how we think it should be done:

On the outfit, KAYLEE says:

Our birthday girl’s flirty, floral, colorful, flowy skirts and dresses are just as much her signature as that dark, wavy mane of hers. Add ruffles, a cross-body bag, small studs, flat sandals…and you’ve got Catherine’s summer style, in a nutshell.

(1. http://bit.ly/JIjJ2C 2. http://bit.ly/MWBjwY 3. http://bit.ly/KWFxGN)

On the grub, KATE says…

Cat has never been a meat and potatoes kind of girl and although her carnivorous side loves a well grilled steak, she is always the first one to jump at the opportunity to try something new. This is the perfect menu for our birthday girl: a recreation of some of her favourite dishes, the tried and true, expressed in an experimental way. We love you Cat and your eagerness to experience new things, whether it is food related or not!

On the drinks, MEG says…

Jello shots are always the marker of a fun night, so I thought there would be no better way to celebrate our resident party-girl’s Birthday, than with Jello shot cupcakes. Made with whipped cream flavoured vodka, these sweet treats were definitely a hit!

On the music, JESS says…

At the end of a work week (or during!), there’s no denying that our little party nut likes a good beat. Years of teaching dance paired with countless nights on the town/behind the bar have led to Catherine’s knack for pointing out the best crowd-pleasing Top 40 jams. On top of Cat’s being immersed in the club favourites – roadtrips, summer night strolls and living room dance parties with our best friend have also shown she’s got a soft spot for the throwback classics. As long as she can bust a move or throw her arm around a best pal, she’s in her element.

1. Back in Time – Pitbull  2. Levels – Avicii 3. The Veldt – deadmau5 4. Let It Go – Dragonette 5. The Motto – Drake feat. Lil’ Wayne 6. Starships – Nicki Minaj 7. Monster Hospital – Metric (MSTRKRFT remix) 8. The Night Out – Martin Solveig 9. No Diggity – Blackstreet 10. Let It Out – Girl Talk 11. The Stand – Mother Mother 12. Steal My Sunshine – Len

Have the best day, Cat – you deserve it. Here’s to the next amazing year!

 

The 5 sunburnt nuts on Cat’s birthday, 2010

The end is…here?

Well friends, inanutshell is almost a year old. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been working away, attempting to complete my Master’s Degree in Legal Studies. I can proudly say, that today marks the last day of my academic career. (At least, for now/the foreseeable future).

I have to say, even though I have complained about the workload and wished that I wasn’t in the library countless times over the past two years, now that it’s all ending, it’s definitely bittersweet. This program has been one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever taken on, and while I should celebrate by throwing my cares to the wind, I can’t help but feel a little bit overwhelmed.

For the past 20 years of my life, I’ve been a student. And tomorrow, that changes. That abrupt shift from ‘student’ (read: young) to ‘working’ (read: adult) is terrifying, to say the least. ‘Student’ has literally helped shape my identity for as long as I can remember.

My first, of many graduations over the years.

Luckily, I have a wonderful group of friends who have made that transition before me and have set wonderful examples. I have watched them leave the realm of academia behind and in turn, focus their time on their own interests. They’re still some of the smartest women I know, and they haven’t been to a class in years.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, that after a bit of reflection, I’ve realized that even though I’ll no longer be a student at Carleton University, I’m still going to be learning and growing, but for myself instead of someone’s syllabus. And while it’s instinctual to feel nervous when our lives change and we set off onto a new path, one aspect of our identity does not define us. Even though it’s going to take some time getting used to the fact that I’m no longer a student, it doesn’t make me a different person.

And so, to all the other young adults out there who have the same anxiety about ‘growing up’ and leaving a different part of your life behind, I’ll leave you with some home-cooked advice from my Mom: “Relax. Breathe. Things happen for a reason. And when they happen, you will always find a way to land on your feet.”

I’d also like to take this opportunity to specifically thank my family, my man and my wide circle of friends who have continued to support me over the past year, and specifically, the last few months. Your words of encouragement and your genuine interest in my work have helped me in ways that you don’t even know. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.

It’s the little things …

Most holidays give you time to reflect a little on what you have to be thankful for. In my eyes, Easter is no exception. As we prepare for family dinners, easter egg hunts and gorging ourselves on way too much chocolate, it’s also that little break we need, at the beginning of a new season, to set your sights on the months ahead.

Some days, weeks or even months it’s all too easy to get bogged down with life’s little disappointments, but it’s then that you often realize how lucky you are to be surrounded by such great people.

I rule my life on the principle that some of the most poignant moments are made from the smallest gestures. As of late, it seems like everyday I have someone to thank for making my day a little brighter.

Here are just a FEW of the little things that have touched my heart recently. If you haven’t had the chance to do something nice for someone you care about recently, take this as inspiration. Because you’ll never realize how even the smallest of actions, can make the biggest difference.

Girls always love getting flowers. But, delivered by surprise, without any cause or occasion, may be the best way to get them.

Some of your favourite magazines. Just because. Love, Mom.

Old fashioned mail is the best. Especially if it comes with a housewarming gift of your favourite animal. And especially if it comes from your best friend.

Returning the favour. Ten fold, when you get back more than you gave. And it includes a night out with ur bestie. And a television appearance.

Why have I been collecting postcards since I was 6? Because it's so nice to know you're thought of when people away traipsing the world.

A visit from a friend, a snuggle in bed, a glass of wine shared. Is there anything better?

"There's a beer in the fridge for you." ... Work hard, play hard. The after work unwind.

One of the cuter moments of my 2012. Coming home to a surprise and a thoughtful note, just to brighten a bad day. #roomielove

Falling asleep on top of the covers, with the lights on, happens on the regular. Getting them turned off and tucked in, does not. Nothing better to wake up to.

Here’s hoping someone brightens your grey day too.

Happy Easter, from all of the nuts. xo

JT, we miss thee!

Today is bittersweet day here on in a nutshell. We are paying tribute to our dear friend and one of in a nutshell’s biggest supporters, Jenn Tod, on her 24th Birthday. Why is it bittersweet? Well, as excited we are to celebrate Jenn in all her glory, we all can’t help but be a little bit sad because we can’t be together. If you remember, last summer, our fearless friend jetted off on an amazing adventure to work for Cambodia’s Human Rights Commission. As her work there came to a close, Jenn continued to explore the globe and while she will be arriving on Canadian soil soon, she will be returning to her home in Calgary, rather than Toronto or Ottawa. For a girl who always makes time for her friends, sending us love from whatever corner of the globe she occupies, we are sending that love straight back today! We are SO proud of our adventurous friend, and are counting down the days until we can be reunited! Happy Birthday Jenn, we love you!

KAYLEE:

In one word, Jenn is: Animated.

You’ll never find Jenn: Not having explored at leeeast one fabulous place in a year..if not about 3. All on different continents.

My favourite day with Jenn was: When she lived in her flannel snowman pajamas for an entire weekend at my cottage… Munching on cookies, sipping tall cans and passing out at the dinner table.

My favourite night with Jenn was: There are way too many favourites that make the hall of fame but the one that most impacted me was the night we met. When she sat on my lap at a kegger and we did what we do best.. Judge. The rest is history.

I would build Jenn: A teleportation device so that no bodies of water could separate us, and she could instantly appear at each of our reunions, having just flown from Asia, England, Calgary …wherever she happens to be living that year.

One of Jenn’s best lines ever was: There are so many. But my favourite thing Jenn says doesn’t involve words at all. It’s all of those facial expressions that I’ve come to fully understand and adore. They each mean something different, and usually have to do with how ridiculous someone in her proximity is being.

In 5 years, you’ll find Jenn: Pursuing her dreams as always… Never second guessing any of her worldly, spontaneous decisions. Always keeping in touch with her immense group of friends, constantly making each of us fall over laughing… And surely still telling tall tales of her daily tribulations, travel adventures and pet peeves.

MEGHAN:

In one word, Jenn is: Inspiring.

You’ll never find Jenn: Without an ear to lend, a shoulder to lean on, and passionate advice or opinions about any problem that her friends are having.

My favourite day with Jenn was: The full day (and night…rather, WHOLE weekend) that Jenn spent living in her snowman pyjamas. While the rest of us switched from PJs to sweatpants for our adventures outdoors, Jenn’s loyalty to her snowmen was unbroken, even when forced to complete an ice “on your knees, in the snow!”

My favourite night with Jenn was: Either meeting up in London the one night we were both across the pond by chance OR Halloween a  few years back when Jenn had no costume as of 6 p.m. but by 9 p.m. was the best Munchkin anyone had ever seen. Her hilarious Munchkin dance kept me in stitches all night. What’s even better is that she carried an oversized lollipop all night and as the evening progressed, we devoured it in between shots of tequila. There is no better chaser, than a ridiculous lollipop.

I would build Jenn: some sort of teleportation device, that way, wherever her travels and adventures take her, at the flip of the switch she could come home to me!

One of Jenn’s best lines ever was: “It’ll FIT!” In reference to the overstuffed trunk on the way up to Kaylee’s cottage. (Which obviously set me up for a perfect ‘that’s what she said’… #dreamteam)

In 5 years, you’ll find Jenn: Doing something important. I know that sounds corny, but this girl is so passionate that I know that she’ll be doing something that will matter to the world. Whether it’s working for an NGO, or something else, she’ll be blazing her own trail and going after her dreams. I have no doubt that a strapping young man will be on her arm, who is so lucky to have met a girl who’s fiercly loyal and caring. If this said 10 years, I wouldn’t doubt that Pax Tod would also be in the equation, but I’m not rushing you girl. Finally, no matter where in the world she is living at that time, I know she’ll be planning our next reunion, with stories in her head and tequila in her hand.

BEST. MUNCHKIN.

 JESS:

In one word, Jenn is: Brave.

You’ll never find Jenn: Out of touch with what’s going on in the world, holding a siamese cat, coddling a stranger’s baby, not sticking up for or having time for her friends, or not ready for an adventure of any scale or size.

My favourite day with Jenn was: Either the day we all spent at the cottage when she didn’t change from her snowman pajamas, sat on my lap for our entire criminal drive down the road to Ada’s, looking back at me periodically to check if I was still breathing. Or, the amazing days we spent walking around, stopping in shops and then sitting outside my house for hours on end because we didn’t want to part ways.

My favourite night with Jenn was: Frolicking and pouncing around to Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros at Bluesfest, so obsessed with the summer sunset and each other. Or any marathon red wine night in my apartment – I so, so miss those.

I would build Jenn: Her own private jet, of which I would obviously be the pilot, where she could adventure off to change the world at the drop of a hat. This girl has big things coming to her – so I clearly need to be in the cockpit and serving her martinis/snacks (Ryan Reynolds, the shirtless co-pilot, will then take over) while she’s on her way to do them.

One of Jenn’s best lines ever was: “I randomly stop and examine most Cambodian children to evaluate whether or not they have Pax Tod potential.”

In 5 years, you’ll find Jenn: Hard to say. One of the best parts about this little travel bug is I don’t know where you’ll find her. Although I selfishly want her around all the time, she has wonderfully embraced the world as her backyard and doesn’t have a single inhibition about it! I think she’ll be happily living in a foreign country with a kind and intelligent man who shares her passion for making a difference, and they’ll be doing just that. And accepting plenty of visitors who come bearing tequila. :)

Annimated wine nights.

KATE:

In one word, Jenn is: Adventurous.

You’ll never find Jenn: Unwilling to lend an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and words of encouragement for her best friends.

My favourite day with Jenn was: The day at Kaylee’s cottage when Jenn refused to wear anything but her snowman pajamas. She got iced in her snowman pjs and drank it in her snowman pjs. . . and kneeled. . . in the snow. . . in her snowman pjs.

My favourite night with Jenn was: The night we scampered through the shoe garden, ended up in a water fountain and proceeded to take over the stage of pier 21.

I would build Jenn: a personal jet for her jet setting ways, equipped with a staff all dressed as munchkins from munchkin land and a never ending supply of ceasar cocktails made with clamato, tobasco and, of course, pickle juice.

One of Jenn’s best lines ever was: “I think it will fit” – RE: stuffing her trunk full before leaving for Kaylee’s cottage.

In 5 years, you’ll find Jenn: Working hard for an NGO, following her dreams and traveling  around the world, inspiring those around her with her intelligence and intuition.

Performing for their dedicated fans.

ALLISON:

In one word, Jenn is: Kind-hearted.

You’ll never find Jenn: Not going up to bat for her friends. She’s selfless and loyal, and you can count on her for anything.

My favourite day with Jenn was: at Kaylee’s cottage when we actively schemed on Catherine’s vulnerable, drunken state to place random objects on her head. And boardgames. And icing (On your knees. In the snow). And drinking and driving. :| Shambles.

My favourite night with Jenn was: In MTL at Meg/Kays bday extravaganza when we were quite possibly the drunken English humans in french territory and were dancing on tables and being hilarious.

I would build Jenn: a Map the size of an entire wall in her house to the mark all the fabulous places she’s travelled. And specifically with markers of her 6 BFFs faces residing in CAN so she’ll never forget where she can find Tequila!

One of Jenn’s best lines ever was: On the way to MTL… “She wrote Hahaha and BBM auto corrected it to: Haitians”. We were never the same.

In 5 years, you’ll find Jenn: At the head of the UN saving the world. Taking care of little Haitian babies and being the cutest little humanitarian. All the while still making time for her GFs and inviting us to do worldly things with her.

So much table dancing.

CATHERINE:

In one word, Jenn is: Adventurous.

You’ll never find Jenn: Doing something that isn’t insanely exciting.

My favourite day with Jenn was: “The bicycle day”. Just me, Jenn and our bikes. Touring the city, getting soaked, showing up late, eating pizza, trekking single file and without knowing it seriously preparing her for the deadly streets of Cambodia.

My favourite night with Jenn was: Our blackout night in Calgary. Started off harmless and escalated quickly. Next thing you know we’re waking up – me in all my clothes, her in all her makeup at 5 am and panicking I won’t make my 6 am flight. On the way to the airport we find my bag of goodies that I bought without knowing it. $80 worth of shot glasses, two cowboy hats and one really ugly shirt later, it is still one of my most hilarious wake ups of all time (and I’ve had a few).

I would build Jenn: A private jet so she could continue to travel the world but make it home to her best girls for a reunion or two, important weekend, birthday, special event or anytime she needed a glass of wine or heart to heart with the girrrrls.

One of Jenn’s best lines ever was: “I’m allergic to potato chips. Her too. We’re sisters.” Blink. Blink.

In 5 years, you’ll find Jenn: In London or someplace even more exotic. She’ll be leading the charge on an intense human rights campaign, with a man who challenges her on one arm and baby Pax Tod in the other. She’ll be giving someone who deserves it a “Jenn look” and taking a mental note to tell her girls back home, who cheer her on everyday, exactly why they did.

Allergic to Chips.

And so, JT, we wish you the Happiest Birthday and the safest travels! Come home to us soon because we can’t wait to celebrate with you in person! xo

In a Nutshell: Chapter Two

If you don’t happen to know all us nuts personally, you may not know that our stunning writer, Jess, who is musically-inclined, fashion-oriented and always in-the-know, has made the move from quaint Ottawa to the big city of Toronto. Joining me just a few weeks after my official move from Montreal, I can’t express how ecstatic I am to have a nut just a streetcar away, day and night.  As many of you know, our nutshell fairy tale began in Ottawa at Carleton U, where we each met at different times and in different places, under a variety of circumstances. After foraging an unbreakable bond as a group, we thought our curiosities, adventures and obsessions might best be expressed through a blog, especially considering we all had a passion for writing  (quite an important factor when a blog is concerned). Since then, we’ve graduated University, gotten big-girl jobs, traveled, and moved cities, all the while cradling in a nutshell, and devoting hours on end to fresh content and ideas.

Even though we all met in one place, we’ve never actually all lived in the same city while our blog has been alive. In May of 2011 when in a nutshell came to fruition, I was living in Montreal while the rest of the nuts were going about their hectic lives in Ottawa. Thus, a new chapter unmarked by an official date or ceremony, is here. Two in Toronto, three in Ottawa – a nicely balanced spread of nuts throughout Ontario.

With Toronto’s MasterCard Fashion Week upon us, Jess and I already plan to bring you details from exciting events, hidden gem restaurants, and shopping hotspots in Toronto. We ask though, that you bear with us – we are true newbies in this big city. A K-towner and a Montrealer have a lot to learn when it comes to getting around, studying where each street lives, experimenting with day trips to unknown districts, and scouting out great places to eat, shop and party – especially in a city of this grandeur. It will take some time to become experts, but we’ll surely get there with the help of friends, and our trusty instincts.

Jess will be greatly missed in the place she’s called home for the past five years, but the people welcoming her with open arms to this big city, are elated to have her bubbly, inquisitive, knowledgeable, adventurous self in their midst. We all know that Jess will strive in this competitive, lively city, showing off her keen sense for all things new, in a place that thrives on just that.

Moving forward, expect to see some articles on our Toronto escapades, it will be so lovely to write about our newbie experiences with readers that likely have a lot of knowledge to share. If you think we should check out a particular event, street, restaurant, store – please leave a comment on one of our posts or tweet at us @inanutshellca / write on our Facebook wall. In a nutshell, these next few months will be exceptionally novel for Jess and I, and we cannot wait to learn everything Toronto has to offer, with none other than our fabulous readers!

PS – If you’re wondering where Friday’s Fashion Fix is – we’ve decided to put it on hold for the unforeseen future. Fresh ideas are what keep a blog rolling, right? 

When The Going Gets Tough…

Most of the time, it’s easy for me to know that I lead a wonderful life and am incredibly blessed. But sometimes, just like everyone else, I get in a funk when life takes a tailspin. The combination of a lot of little things and a few big things have literally felt like a downward spiral that makes me want to run into a dark cave and hide until the invevitable upswing HAS to happen.

Oh hey, cave. It's me, Meghan.

But, since the world keeps on spinning and I don’t have any mysterious caves just around the corner, I’ve had to face this like everyone else. Luckily, I have the most wonderful friends who put up with the various emotions that are associated with a bad day, week, month… When I’ve been angry and frustrated or when I’ve been a complete mess and shed some tears, they have been there with positive thoughts, prayers, advice and support.

And so, this is an ode to my friends, nuts and otherwise, you are all the little rays of sunshine that make life a bit more bearable when it seems like it’s spinning out of control. Here are a few of my favourite movie moments that show just how great girlfriends can be…

Sex and the City
While I’m nowehere near the point in life where motherhood woes are beating me down, the fact that Miranda encourages Charlotte with “sips” is just too perfect. From experience, sometimes a little tequila is all you need…


The Babysitters Club Movie

This blast from the past is exactly how I feel about my friends. When the world is dumping on you, whether metaphorically or literally like the rain storm in this scene, sometimes you just need to be rescued by your friends.


Now and Then

And sometimes, you just need your friends to help you kick some ass!


Thelma & Louise

And well, let’s hope that I never go so far off the deep end that the deep end is a canyon. But, the best part about my friends is that I know if I had to, they’d all be ready to ride shotgun…in a nutshell.