Public Speaking Isn’t So Bad After All

It’s been a very long time since I last had to do a presentation in front of people, either at school, or at work. I used to have to do them all the time, not that I enjoyed it one bit.

I go to a lot of conferences, or “unconferences” in Vancouver, but I have never built up the courage to stand up in front of people and just TALK. No way, no how.

So when my friend Brianna asked me (along with my good friend Jerra) to emcee her upcoming wedding, I thought, erm…. well… okay. Because this was different. People didn’t expect me to be an expert on something, and I didn’t have to wow them with my research, or my opinion on some obscure topic. Being a Master of Ceremonies (or Mistress, rather?) is pretty simple, since the itinerary is laid out in advance, and in full detail for you. So, we both agreed to do it, even though I may be considered as the “emotional one” and Jerra is the one with anxiety.

We’re funny, we thought.


Jerra, the bride Brianna, and Myself

Well the time came and went so quickly, I felt I barely had time to prepare. Everything ultimately went off without a hitch, and there was a point when I was saying my few opening words about the newly married couple, where I heard, and even felt, I swear, the entire room, say a collective “Aaawwww…” I immediately had this rush of confidence and thought, “They’re eating it up! I can’t believe it!” They even laughed a few times, too. Who would have thought?

So I guess that’s my point, that public speaking may not be so bad after all. It’s not as terrifying as I remembered it, anyhow. I think I feel as if I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, and possibly ready to take on another challenge. A small one.


Summer 2009 in Pictures

I have been unbelievably lazy with blogging lately, and I’d like to blame it on being really busy doing fun stuff. Most of my weekends this summer have been spent out of town, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It’s so nice to get out of the city once in awhile, and to spend time with friends and family.

Anyway, rather than waste my time explaining what I’ve been doing for the past couple months, I thought what better way to write a quick post about everything summer related, than with a bunch of photos that can speak for themselves? They do say a picture speaks a thousand words.

And without further adieu, here is Summer 2009 in pictures:


IMGP3292IMGP3303Dale & Jerra’s wedding in Las Vegas.
(The rest of this set is here.)

IMGP3623Volleyball Saturday’s on Jay’s rooftop.

IMGP3760My running club.


IMGP3785IMGP3790Dale & Jerra’s “Powell River” wedding reception.

IMGP3840IMGP3849Taking a break on the drive up the Sunshine Coast.

IMGP3950What I LOVE about Powell River. Momsie, you da best!

IMG_1799IMG_1819Liz + Chris’ wedding in Powell River.

IMGP4062IMGP4093IMGP4292Our cabin, “Kokanee Cedar,” on Powell Lake, a.k.a. Paradise.


IMGP4318IMGP4429Trip to the Okanagan.

IMG_1922IMG_1924Catching a Canadians game at Nat Bailey stadium.

IMGP4465IMGP4495Pool party at Uncle Bill and Auntie Joanne’s.

IMGP4536IMGP4569Thursday night Urban Rec soccer champs.


IMGP4587IMGP5015_2Wedding shoot in Kelowna with Emily.
(The rest of this set is being updated and is located here.)

Well, that’s it – the highlights, anyway. Here’s hoping that Autumn will bring some more new adventures my way…

The most beautiful Las Vegas Wedding

Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography
Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography

Just recently, I was fortunate enough to be a bridesmaid in the most amazing wedding I have ever experienced. My best friend, Jerra Pexton, married the love of her life, Dale Lupul, on Sunday, June 7, 2009, in a beautiful ceremony held at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Many of the guests were there for a few days arriving on June 5th or 6th, and departing on June 8th or 9th, so they had a chance to experience Las Vegas and all of its glitz and glamour.

Las Vegas experienced a small cold front while we were there – but a cold front in June in Las Vegas still means 25 degrees celsius! The only day where we really felt the heat was Sunday, on the day of the wedding (of course).

IMGP3138The tears were flowing as soon as us girls saw Jerra in her wedding dress. She looked so gorgeous! Then, to see her father walk her down the aisle… he was unbelievably proud of her, and didn’t hesitate to tell anyone who would listen! She walked up an aisle covered in pink rose petals to the sound of a violin, surrounded by palm trees, and her and Dale said their vows in front of a waterfall. Not exactly how you pictured a Vegas wedding, is it?

After the ceremony, the newly wed couple and the wedding party posed for pictures, and then took a limo trip to take photos in front of the Las Vegas sign. The reception afterward was a poolside cocktail party at Treasure Island. It was a very nontraditional wedding, filled with so many amazing moments, great new friends, and a reaffirmation in my belief that true love actually exists.


Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography
Photo credit: Cashman Pro Photography

Jerra and Dale, I truly wish you a “happily ever after” together, with a marriage full of love, and many offspring!! Thank you so much for letting me share your beautiful wedding day with you!


**UPDATE: One thing I forgot to mention in this post – do you see that gorgeous dress? It was made by her VERY talented mother, Cathy Spreeuw. Also, a full set of photos are available to view here.**

Here is the video I made for Jerra and Dale, that includes the speeches from the Maid of Honour and Best Man at the reception. Please note: It is very long, but I made it for them, not for you. Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Kidnapped Bachelorette

May long weekend, I went on what was by far, the best bachelorette party ever. It will not be topped in this lifetime, I guarantee it.

My good friend Liz is getting married on July 11, 2009, in our hometown of Powell River, BC. Her sister Deanna, and her mother Nancy (whom I’ve known forever), had been planning her bachelorette weekend for months, and I felt honoured just to be involved. They wanted to take her on a trip somewhere, because when Deanna got married, Liz and her Mom whisked her off to Las Vegas for the weekend, and also didn’t tell her where she was going! Well, we followed the same theme here.

On Wednesday night, after a run with Liz, and a rained out beach volleyball game (and also an impromptu beer with our volleyball team that I couldn’t get out of!), I ran home to shower and change to get ready for Liz’ mom to come pick me up. She arrived from Powell River at around 8:00pm, before I even got out of the shower! I quickly grabbed my suitcase and we were on the road out to White Rock to surprise Liz. We had filled in her fiance, Chris, only a few days prior – because we didn’t think he could keep that big of a secret for so long! We called Chris when we arrived, and he let us into their apartment. Nancy walked in first, then me with a camera in my hand shooting video, and then there was Chris bringing up the rear. Liz had no idea what hit her. “What are YOU doing here?” she asked her Mom. “And what are you doing here all showered up?” she says to me. (I had only left her at the pub less than an hour ago.) Nancy just said casually, “I need someone to drive me to Seattle.”

“Yeah right,” she scoffed. We were serious. Nancy came down in her car and was going to make Liz drive. We told her to pull out her suitcase and passport, and start packing. We tell her that shorts, tank tops and bikinis should suffice. “Hmmm… it’s not that warm in Seattle!” Liz shouts, rather excitedly.

“Well, we might be catching a plane from Seattle tomorrow morning,” I tell her. She’s suspicious, but she’s happier than can be, because we told her to pack her bathing suit. There were some lame excuses about working the next day, but nope, Nancy had that covered weeks ago. It was a “bulletproof plan,” as Chris called it.

Before we knew it, we were in the car and cruising past the U.S. border. Even the border official obliged to our little game. He asked where we were going, and we said Seattle…. “Seattle is just the beginning”, Nancy told him. He didn’t seem to mind. He jokingly asked if we had any toys or strange things in the suitcases. Nope, and we were on our way!

After a very close flight connection and sprinting through the Phoenix airport, we endured our flights and arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida late in the evening. We are greeted by two screaming girls in a minivan – Liz’ sister Deanna who lives in Winnipeg, and her friend Christie who she played hockey with in College, and now lives in Sacramento, California. We arrived at the house, and Seanna, another friend and former teammate from College, arrived shortly after. She had already been in Lauderdale for a few days. She also used to live with Liz back when she was doing her teaching practicum in Fort Lauderdale, and back when I was working on boats and crashing at their place on the weekends I was in town. The next day, we picked up Jenny from the airport, another Powell Riverite, who was arriving from Toronto, and our crew was finally complete.

The weather wasn’t the best on Friday, there were rain showers on and off all day, so we spent most of it shopping. Later, it cleared up beautifully, and we cooked an amazing dinner at our pimpin’ house that we rented right on the intercoastal. If you’ve never been to South Florida before, they have these intercoastal waterways that weave throughout most of the area almost like streets. Residents who live on the waterway can dock their boat in their backyard. It’s a pretty sweet set-up. You can also catch water taxis on them that take you downtown and to other popular areas.

Saturday was the best day ever. We drove 2 hours south of Fort Lauderdale to Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, and we rented a boat. We were a little worried, as it started raining on our way down there, but the sun gods pulled through for a gorgeous sunny day in the Keys. We anchored our boat, along with about 50 others, on a sand bar in the middle of the ocean, where the water was only about waist deep. We drank beers, played frisbee, made some new friends, and had a football game in the water. It was pure awesomeness. The only minor setback – sunburns for everyone – but still the greatest day ever.

That night we dressed Liz up (nobody knows us, right?), went out for dinner, and then out on the town on Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Lauderdale. Vancouver really needs to follow Fort Lauderdale’s lead and just have all the bars open, with no cover, and no line up. Only at the really big clubs down there do you have to wait in line and pay cover. And even then, the club is at least worth the cover charge. There will be about 4 different rooms, with 4 different DJ’s playing all different kinds of music. We stuck to the main strip though, and just bar hopped, which was much more fun.

Sunday Funday was just a lazy day, lounging at the house in the morning, and sitting on the beach in the afternoon. A quick downpour late in the afternoon cleared the beach, so we ended up hitting a beach bar, and then headed back to the house for another delicious home-cooked meal.

Monday, sadly, it was time to leave. It was an unbelievable trip, and I want to thank all the girls that made it such a blast, especially you sneaky Betteridge girls. And Liz, thank you for being the awesome person that you are. We wouldn’t have been there if it weren’t for you. ‘Til next time, ladies! Well, July 11th in Powell River, for the wedding at least. xoxo

To finish things off, I’ll leave you with a little video I cooked up in honour of the weekend.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My BFF is getting married..

..And she’s doing it in VEGAS!

Myself & Jerra, November 2008
Myself & Jerra, November 2008

Yup, that’s right, I’m going to Las Vegas again… for the third time – and the second time this year. But hey, my best friend is getting married, and I, of course, am in the wedding party!

Originally, my friend Jerra was going to get married here in Vancouver, and even started planning the huge, traditional wedding for approximately 150-200 guests. She soon realized that she hated every second of planning this wedding, because it wasn’t what she wanted. I’m not sure whether it was the number of people that bothered her, all of the planning that had to go into it, or whether she just preferred to have an intimate group of people that she really loved share her special day with her.

Whatever the case, over Christmas she convinced her fiance that a small wedding with less than 50 guests in Las Vegas was the way to go. I couldn’t be more excited!

Although, I have to admit, at first I thought: “Really? Vegas? I mean.. really???” It took a while for Jerra to explain to me that no, she was not going to be married in a wedding chapel, and no, an Elvis impersonator would not be performing the ceremony. She showed me what she had in mind, and it absolutely took my breath away. The ceremony is going to be held at Mandalay Bay, and dinner afterwards will be held at Kahunaville in the Treasure Island hotel.

Mandalay Bay Weddings
Mandalay Bay Weddings

So, plans are in the works right now – booking flights and hotels, planning stags and stagettes, arranging details for the day of the wedding, etc. The wedding is to take place June 7, 2009, and it seems as if that date is creeping closer and faster(!) all the time. I may or may not write another entry closer to the date, but I will most definitely post some photos to share the experience after we get back!