The little things in life

Vegan at Disneyland: Putting your willpower to the test

Just this past week I decided to take a 30 day vegan challenge. I have been a vegetarian for almost 3 years now. My reason for making the switch was to better my health and to stand up for animal rights. At the time, I had read Skinny Bitch and was shocked at some of the information in that book. Recently though, after losing my car, practicing yoga on a daily basis and living in California where health is a part of everyone’s life, I’ve decided to read up on veganism.

The public library has been a great resource and book I really enjoyed was The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. Yes, there are recipes in this book, but the first 135 pages are devoted to explaining how meat, dairy, GMOs and all that crap is affecting our bodies, the animals and the environment. It’s shocking – read it.

I promised myself to try being vegan for 30 days and then reevaluate what I am able and willing to sacrifice to live a cruelty-free life. My first week went great until I was faced with the biggest challenge of my life: Disneyland. As you enter the park, the aroma of freshly popped kettle corn awakens your taste buds and whispers “just have a little bite, it won’t hurt you.” Wrong Mr.Kettle Corn! I know you will have me addicted by the first bite. I must resist. And I did.

Bachelorette Party at Disneyland!

Throughout the day, my friends enjoyed ice cream, cookies, cheesy pizza, fried this and chocolate covered that…It was torture. However, I did a little research before entering and found that my favorite Vegetarian Gumbo in Sourdough bread bowl was indeed vegan! For dinner we went to Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure and they went above and beyond to accommodate my vegan needs. The chef came out and went over the menu with me and totally hooked my up with a delicious vegan, veggie-filled pasta dish!

We thought we were pretty clever until we got completely soaked at the bottom!

The only issue I had was treats. I was craving chocolate and could not find anything that did not contain butter or milk. Next time I will have to bring my own! My willpower was definite put to the test and passed with flying colors.

P.S If you’re interested in environmental issues, animal rights, social and political debates going on these days check out Face Issues on Facebook. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Categories: The little things in life | 3 Comments

I’m so Pinterested in you.

Never count on me to be on top of the newest, coolest gadget, social media site or latest fashion statement. BUT according to my confirmation email from, and I quote:

“As one of the first members of Pinterest, your pins will help set the tone for the whole community. “

That’s right folks. Watch out because I will be setting the tone for the world of virtual…pinboarding?

Ok, so here’s how it works. You log on and can browse through various topics such as home decor, DIY crafts, fashion, photography, food… and you “pin” the pictures that you like and feel inspired by onto your magical virtual pin board! And WHY would you want to do this, you ask? Because then, you can create a board for, Oh I don’t know, YOUR PERFECT HOUSE BY THE BEACH WITH MASON JARS FOR OUTDOOR LIGHTING AND CUTE LITTLE FLOWER AND HERB GARDENS AND A…ok maybe that’s just me.

Also very useful for future gift shopping. No more giving your mom cooking utensils and your dad a plaid tie. It’s time to get creative and offer them something like this….

Who would't want this?

But more importantly I think this will be an amazing tool for my career in event planning. It’s possible to browse any other website and click on pictures and “pin” it and it will automatically go to your board of choice (birthday party ideas, wedding ideas, Grammys pre party…). Think of it as the 21st century Inspiration Board without ruining perfectly good magazines or getting glue all over your floor. Brilliant if you ask me.

Guys, there is a lot of interesting stuff on there for you too. If you want to sign up and follow what I’m “pinning” up on on boards, add me: gabriellenorton .

Now go see what might Pinterest you!

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What happened to her?

I know you have been dying to know more about what is going on in my life. Wait no more! I have plenty to talk about since the last time I blogged about the random-interesting-for-some-people things happening in my life. To make things easier, I made a list.

List of things happening in my life:

1) I moved to the beach! The beautiful, non touristy beach by the name of Redondo Beach is now where I reside. You can BARELY notice the giant factory down my street because if you look very closely behind the giant tree in front of our kitchen window, you can see the ocean 🙂 . Totally worth it.

2) I commute 45 minutes without traffic or 1h33 minutes with traffic to get to work back in Pasadena. I don’t want to talk about it.

3) I got transferred to the lululemon in Manhattan Beach starting in 3 weeks! Estimated commute time: 7 minutes by car or 1h by bicycle by taking the beach strand and walking by bike up a giant hill. I have yet to test it out.

4) I still horseback ride…all the way up past Pasadena. It’s worth it as long as I miss traffic.

5) I got a tattoo. It’s a giant panther with wings and symbolized fierceness and freedom.

6) Totally did not get a tattoo.

7) Still have Mabel the Malibu. She is running like a charm but is also not enjoying the commute to Pasadena.

8) I have yet to learn how to surf.

9) My roommate and I go on bike rides almost every day and we saw a whale and some dolphins!

10) Got a 3 day Disneyland pass. Have been twice so far. It is indeed the Happiest Place on Earth where there are no calories!

11) I’m totally into yoga, juicing every fruit and vegetable that exists and riding my bike with my handy dandy basket everywhere.

11) Next visit to Canada is scheduled for the end of May 🙂

Categories: LA Journey, The little things in life | 1 Comment

Paddleboarding in the deep blue sea

What was supposed to be a Holiday training for the management team at lululemon Pasadena, turned out to be one of the funnest days yet!

Our manager surprised me, James and Shaunda with an afternoon of paddleboarding in Marina del Rey! Not sure what paddleboarding is? Check this out.

Did you see that guy in the first shot surfing the waves? Yeah well, we weren’t even close to that but we did do some yoga poses in the marina! We’ll be sent the pictures later this week.

We paddled a few feet away from sea lions and they would jump in and swim right under us. Kind of a scary feeling but very cool to watch. They smell awful by the way.

After spending an hour in the fog doing yoga poses and falling off, we ventured out to the open sea and circled around the Coast Guard ship. It was harder tok keep our balance out there because there were actual waves but we were pros at this point. ha.

We made it back 3 hours later and as we were paddleing up to the dock we saw a stingray and some crabs! Oh California, you will never cease to amaze me!

James and I did a double down dog yoga pose on a paddleboard!

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I think you got a little bit of mud right there

How to describe the Gladiator Rock n Run in one word? Muddy.

Minus the fact that I slammed my knee on the bottom of the mud pit out of pure excitement, the whole thing was a blast and I would definitely do it again!

As I was walking to my car covered head to toe in greyish brown caked on mud, I guy drove by in his Jeep Wrangler (I was very jealous) and yelled “I think you have a little bit of mud on your shoulder!”. Thank you Captain Obvious.

Check out the Glendale New Press for pics and keep an eye out for picture #14 you might see some familiar faces!

There was no saving my socks or shoes. They went straight to the trash and it took two loads of laundry to get every bit of mud off of my clothes. Yes yes it was still worth it!

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Visit from my favourite fazoolie

Fazoolie: noun, meaning ‘a person who looks or acts slightly crazy’. Used in sentences such as: “omg look at your hair, you look like a fazoolie!” or “I was going insane, I was acting like such a fazoolie”.

Erin, though my best friend, can act and look like a fazoolie. I, too, have been known to have fazoolie moments. It just happens! The night Erin flew in to LAX, the fun began. I had to work late and asked Scotty to pick her up at the airport (thank goodness he was there because trying to explain the LA bus system to anyone from outside LA would be a nightmare).

Scotty invited a bunch of friends over for a fish taco BBQ as a “Welcome to America” party for Erin! We ate, drank and made our way out to the Hermosa Pier where we stayed out and danced until the wee hours of the morning. The next day, I had to work back in Pasadena and Erin was on her own in the great land of opportunity. She took advantage of her freedom and….laid by my mini pool all day. I would have done the same.


Once we were both rested up we were ready for our next adventure. That adventure would be none other than driving to Vegas and back in less than 48 hours! Go big or go home!

We played. We lost. We had fun and spent the next day at the pool.

Ready for a Monday night in Vegas!

Code Red was my favourite slot machine but then it took my money

Erin on the other hand did quite well!


After making it home alive and realizing we have no more money to spend on special activities we decided to drive back to the beach on my next day off. Erin wanted to see all the famous beaches like Venice and Santa Monica so my brilliant idea was to bike over there from Scotty’s! It sounded like a great idea until we got to our destination 3 hours later. Little did we know Hermosa Pier to Santa Monica Pier was about a 15 mile bike ride each way. We stopped in Venice for fish tacos to refuel and then made our way to Santa Monica Pier. Fun experience overall.

Only a few miles in. Still smiling

So far so good

We made it! we have to bike back before the sun sets.

Ah such a great trip! Until next year miss Wallace 🙂

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Better late than never

2 months later I will finally post about the rest of my trip back home to Canada land!

After leaving l’Assomption, I hitched a ride with a stranger (true story, but Erin was there with me and she knew him ha!) to the Nation’s Capital! Erin and I thought we had a good 2 full days to spend together. Wrong. It appears I got my dates wrong and my dad was scheduled to pick me up 17 hours after my arrival in Ottawa to transport me to Picton, ON.


Our time together was brief bit pleasant. The good news was that Erin was visiting me in LA a month later. Phew! We made dinner and caught up on all the latest gossip in our lives then went to bed. That night, Marley the devil cat, proceeded to lose his mind. I woke up with a few scratches and bags under my eyes. Erin left for work and my dad showed up!

After eating at our favourite Canadian Mexican restaurante Ahora, we walked around good ol’ downtown Ottawa. Dad took pictures, I bought maple candy for gifts. I ate half.

So much maple sugar!!!!!

What are we at now? Day 7? Anyway, I spent a day in Picton with the broski, picked vegetables in the garden and was forced to mow the lawn. Just kidding I actually volunteered!

We packed up the van, put Cole far enough in the back so he couldn’t reach me and hit the road. Destination: Toronto airport to pick up brother #2 (I should call them Thing 1 and Thing 2. Kidding) and then en route to Mars, PA to see gpa and gma!

Nortons don’t stop for food. Only coffee and treats 🙂

In Toronto traffic


The rest of a trip went by so fast. For the 3rd year in a row Grandpa and Grandma Norton have the 4 of us, gma’s sister Terry, her 2 kids Cathy and Willie and Cathy’s family Jordan and Izzy over for a week. Let’s just say there is never a boring moment during this time!

Gma is getting ready to ride the rollercoaster

There she goes!

One thing we did a lot of that week was eat. It’s so hard to stopppp! But when it was time to leave, we have a family tradition that involves everyone to get out a white kleenex and wave good bye to the person in the car. That’s always the saddest moment! The good news is the Nortons will all be flying in to LAX in December 🙂


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10 months after fixing up Goonie the Green Honda Civic and hittin’ the road for the West Coast, I am back in my home land. Even though 10 days on the East Coast seems like a decent amount of time to visit friends and family, it isn’t when you have to visit no one, but 5 cities!

Day 1-2: Mont-Tremblant. Jodi picked me up at the airport and after an emotional hello, we drove up to le Lac Mont-Tremblant. We bought some snacks and a bottle of wine and sailed off on True Colours, her recently restored sailboat. However, with no wind on the lake, we didn’t do much sailing. Instead, we used her 1960’s Mercury Boat Motor to get us 12 km in to the middle of the lake. It was a perfect day of sun bathing, swimming and chatting. With 2.5 hours of sleep and a 3-hour time difference; my 4 naps on the boat were justified.

Going boating on Lac Tremblant!

The next day was just as exciting. We woke up and had a typical Quebec breakfast of french toast and REAL maple syrup and Tim Hortons coffee. The we went on a little hike up Gray Rocks, an old ski mountain that is no longer open to the public. Once we burned a few calories, we hopped in Rosie the 1970 red Jeep Wrangler and drove to St-Jovite for a real quebec Poutine. I was in heaven.

Key ingredients for a Canadian breakfast: maple syrup and Tim Hortons coffee


At last the moment I've been waiting for...REAL poutine while sitting in Rosie the Jeep 🙂

Day 2-3: Met up with my mom in Val-David where she was staying with friends and we drove to downtown Montreal for the 7:30pm broadway show of the Lion King. Ummmm…AMAZING! With a real orchestra below the stage and incredible costumes, the musical was perfect for any age. They’re in Montreal until September 4th if anyone wants to see it!

Today, day 3, I drove to St-Urbain to see Candee and her new home. She is going to be very happy there. I saddled her up and took her out in the field for one last ride. Well, they told me I could come see here whenever I was in town 🙂

She is a very happy girl over there

Day 4: The fun never ends when you’re in Quebec! I’m having 6-7 of my closest friends over for mimosas and food. Mom cooked up storm today and we got some cute mini cupcakes from downtown l’Assomption for dessert.

Our colourful assortment of desserts

Next time on the adventures of Not Too Shabby Gabby – Back in Canada…birthdays, besties and Ottawa!


Categories: The little things in life | 1 Comment

They See Me Rollin’

Guess what’s back and cooler than ever? Rollerblades! That’s right. I brought them here to Cali all the way from Montreal and have convinced a few other friends to join me as I roll around the Rosebowl and on the beach boardwalk. Umm hello coolness! I still believe it’s the best workout I’ve ever done. It’s so much better on your joints and it works those saddlebags (ladies, no one finds those attractive let’s be honest)!

A workout by the ocean, can't complain

What else have I been up to?

  • Working
  • Trying to reach some goals
  • Trying new types of workouts
  • Planning my trip back home in August!!
  • Looking to buy a bike
  • Still searching for furniture for my room
  • Dating…yes occasionally, it’s harder than you think in LA!
  • Getting back into riding
  • Trying to write more blog posts
  • Keeping up with all my friends and family members on the east coast
  • Planning on surfing
  • Going to the beach when I can
  • Working on my tan
The list goes on….it must be on my scrap of paper somewhere.
Categories: The little things in life | 1 Comment

Scraps of Paper

I am my father’s daughter. I was looking through my most precious tool – my planner – the other day and realized half of my “to do list” was on mini scraps of paper. I remember my dad had (and still has) a little notebook or scraps of paper in his car and all around the house with ideas, things he wants to do eventually, appointments, lists, etc. I always thought that was a silly idea and very unorganized at the time, but now realize I do the exact same thing!

I think what it is, is that we have so many thoughts going through our heads that we grab whatever is around at the time and make note of the idea before we forget. It’s a sort of release. It’s like “OK. It’s on paper, one day I will look at it again, but right now I need to focus on my tasks”. To be honest, I’m not sure how effective this system is quite yet. Dad, any thoughts?

The reason I brought this up is because today was a really inspirational and motivating day that made me want to go forward with some of my ideas on the scraps of paper. I had Foundations Training with lululemon in Beverly Hills. Basically, we spent 7 hours with 8 other lulus talking about goals,  how to break them down step-by-step, areas of opportunity for us personally and us as a team member in our store, and where we see ourselves in 10 years. I was just so inspired to get back into event planning and reaching some of my goals that I decided to look at all my scraps of paper and get some of them done!

Write them out!

My first step is to set “By-When” dates. What are those? Well, like the words say, it is the date by when I will reach a certain goal or step to a goal.


My 10 year goal: Be an internationally recognized event planner. By when? Jan 2025

How do I get there? Well before getting to the 10 year goal I have to back track and think of the 5 year goal, and then my one year goal.

5 year goal: Work as my own event planner in Manhattan Beach. By when? Sept 2014.

1 year goal: Be hired on as an event planner through another company. By when? June 2012.

Then we took my 1 year goal and broke it down step-by-step to see how exactly I would get there. It looks like this:

  • Organize a regional event for lululemon for experience
  • Research companies I would want to work for
  • Join a networking group for event planners
  • Find a mentor
  • Define expectations and values of the type of employer and events I want
Every point is broken down again into very specific way of getting there along with a by-when for each.
So, hold me accountable because my next big project will be to plan a regional event for lululemon. I have decided that it will be the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena Marathon Kick Off, on February 2012!
All the lulus are aware of this and we will have a call 5 weeks from now to see my progress. This is huge! If I pull this event off, this will be my first big recognition in the lululemon community and for runners, planners and locals in Los Angeles!
I know it feels as though lululemon has it’s own lingo and culture, which is totally does, but it’s all amazing stuff that is available to everyone.
I challenge you all to write out your goals.
Here is the link to lululemon goal setting. It will change your life, no joke!
Categories: Planning, The little things in life | 1 Comment

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