Organ donation

After writing my post about the super hero party I threw a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d share a story about a real life hero.

chiMy uncle (pictured above) did something amazing this year that is definitely worthy of sharing. His dad had been sick and learned that his kidneys were functioning at a very low level and would need to go on dialysis until it was his turn on the transplant list.

My uncle, who married into the family only a few years ago, but whom I’ve known for as long as I can remember (he dated my aunt for 12 years before getting married!) has always been caring, selfless, and generous. He’s the owner of Academia Tutoring Services and has a passion for teaching and inspiring kids to learn and strive for success.

Well when he learned that his dad would have to go on dialysis,  he didn’t think twice before asking to get tested to see if he would be a match for a live kidney donation. What happened in the next 3 weeks was a complete whirlwind. Within 1 week of getting tested, they called and told him that he was a match, and that they could schedule him in for the surgery 10 days later. Only letting his wife, and his boss know, he quietly went about taking care of all the loose ends that would need to be taken care of before the surgery. Being the humble and thoughtful person that he is, he didn’t want to make a big deal out of it and didn’t want to worry the whole family. The wonderful doctors at Toronto General did a great job and when I popped by to visit him after his surgery, even through the pain, he was in good spirits and was generously offering me a bite of his apparently “delicious” sugarless jello. 

His recovery took about 7 weeks where he had to be careful about over exerting himself, and avoid lifting heavy objects. But with some TLC from my aunt, he now he looks and functions as good as new! And his dad has also made a very quick recovery and is doing extremely well!

I can’t begin to say how much I admire what he did and can only hope that there is some serious good karma coming his way soon. If you haven’t thought about registering for Organ donation, I’d highly recommend at least reading into it and considering how your consent could potentially one day save up to 8 lives.

DIY Spray painting a picture frame

rachel spieceMy lovely friend Rachel celebrated her once in a lifetime champagne birthday last weekend. I knew I wanted to frame one of our travelling photos for her in a bright yellow (her fav colour) frame. After much searching, I quickly realized that bright yellow frames are ridiculously hard to find. Instead, my spray paint addicted roomie inspired me to go with the DIY approach.

DSCF3435 copyMaterials:

Picture frame – I picked up a 24×36 Umbra one from Blacks.

Spray paint – I just grabbed a can from Canadian tire. I used Rust-Oleum 2x cover and it worked out pretty well.

A hi-res photo – I decided to pick a photo I had taken of the Eiffle Tower in Paris that had Rach discretely in the corner. I then asked all of our favourite travel friends to send me messages for me to incorporate into the picture.

Garbage bags – to protect your flooring as the spray paint goes everywhere

Tape – to take your garbage bags down

How to spray paint a metal frame:

1. Tape down garbage bags. It’s best to do this outside where air can circulate as the fumes from the paint are toxic.

2. Take the backing and glass out of the frame. Just lay down the parts that you want painted.

3. You can use primer as a base, or sand down your frame slightly so that the paint will stick better

4. Read the instructions on the back of your can to know how far away you should be spraying

spraypaint picture frame

5. Let it dry and repeat if you want the colour to be more true, or if you noticed that you missed some spots.

TIPS

  • Avoid painting on a windy day. I had some issues with dirt and residue blowing around and sticking to my frame.
  • Avoid spraying to closely as the paint will go on very thick and will be more likely to drip down the frame.
  • Make sure you give yourself enough time for the frame to dry. I ended up having to wrap up a frame that was still a little ‘tacky’.  

The photo

I typically print my photos at Blacks, but it will usually take them 5-7 business days to print a large poster size. If you’re in a rush, most print shops that have printers on site are able to do it for you in a couple of hours. Note: Often they will charge you a service fee if you bring the file in on a USB/CD to print rather than uploading it yourself online.

Since I was using a photo from when we were in Paris together, I thought it woudl be fun to ask our friends that we met there to include little messages for her to personalize it a little bit.

paris poster gift idea

The finished product!

DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster

Of course I had to wrap it in bright yellow wrapping paper. 

IMG_6058 copy

My bestie LOVED the gift! Thanks to our awesome friends Jeff, Katie, Alex and Liam for helping me put a smile on her face!

DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster Ngoc Nguyen DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster

I also pulled out my trusty kitchenaid mixer to whip together some yellow cupcakes. Fun tip: Use a package of pudding mix to make the cake extra moist.

colourful cupcake wrappers

I love these brightly coloured cupcake wrappers.. however does anyone else notice that after baking.. they all turn into muddy ugly colours?

colourful cupcake wrappers

Best part about baking? Definitely licking the batter!

Ngoc Nguyen baking

I think I’m addicted to spray painting now and will definitely be making a few more big prints for my room. Thanks again to our Paris super group for helping me with this gift!!

Super hero scavenger hunt

Super hero themed party ideas Ngoc NguyenSome of you may remember the super hero party I threw last year for the bf’s birthday. It was a huge success so I had a few friends request that I throw another one. The best thing about already setting a precedence is that no one complained this year about my strict costumes mandatory rule. Instead, they all realized that the more outrageous the costume, the cooler everyone else thought you were. I was so pumped that people went all out on their costumes this year!

To spice things up a little bit, I kicked off the party with a photo scavenger hunt. I made a fun list of things to do, and gave everyone 1 hour to complete as many of the listed items as possible. Although some people were unsure about running around the city in their costumes, by the end of it, everyone had a blast, and now they have all these great photos to show for it. Feel free to download my list for your own party!

Super hero themed photo scavenger hunt ideas

Benefits of a photo scavenger hunt

  1. Great way for people to get to know each other. I made teams at random which forced people to work together with others that they might not normally talk to
  2. Everyone has a competitive edge. And a hunt is a great way to bring that out in people.
  3. Great photos! I’m all for photos and giving people a list to do gives them a reason to be silly in pictures.
  4. It’s fun being a kid. We don’t give enough credit to just doing fun, silly, PG13 kind of activities.

Tips tricks and lessons learned from the scavenger hunt:

  • Give a wide range of tasks in varying difficulties
  • Teams of 4 worked really well – the teams are small enough to easily coordinate and work together, while being big enough that people know that you’re part of a group you’re not a random crazy person walking around the streets in a costume.
  • I gave everyone an hour to complete the list and 2 teams finished all 26 tasks. Next time I’d add probably put at least 30 things on the list with some really hard ones
  • Remember to print off the list beforehand. I was rushed the day of and couldn’t get to a printer in time. Luckily, everyone has smart phones now a days so I just posted it online and had everything download the list to their phones.
  • Picking a hashtag lets everyone post to the same social media channels so they can see how their competition is doing. We used #HeroHunt for ours.
  • If you plan ahead and are tech savy, you can collect everyone’s photos and play a slideshow of all the pictures during the party

Some pictures from the hunt!

Super heroes themed scavenger hunt

scavenger hunt - fireman carry a stranger

Super Heroes doing a scavenger hunt

Super heroes jumping

Super heroes themed photo scavenger hunt

earth worm jim costume

super hero battle in toronto

he man and wonder woman

It’s not every day that you get to party with Sailor Moon and Wonder Woman!

female super hero costume

Or how about Super Dave and Asbestos lady?Super dave costume

And of course the whole crew from Kick-ass decided to join! Kick-ass in toronto costume ideas

Did I mention that I live in Gothum City? 

dark knight and bane costumes

Thanks to Heather from Shameless Vanilla for making these awesome cupcakes!

super hero cupcakes